(TibetanReview.net, Dec07, 2014) – A retired Chinese leader who until recently had the country’s judiciary, the police and paramilitary police, as well as the procuratorate and domestic intelligence services under his thumb is now a suspect under investigation for a range of serious criminal offences, including corruption and abuse of power. Zhou Yongkang, who once presided over an annual budget bigger than that for national defence, has now been expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and arrested.
China’s official Xinhua news agency said Dec 6 that the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee took that decision and also transferred the suspected criminal case of Zhou, himself a former member of that supreme decision making body in China, and relevant clues to judicial organs for handling according to the law.
Under party investigation for severe disciplinary violations thus far, Zhou, 72, has now been formally arrested after the politburo adopted the investigation of his case by the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI). Xinhua cited a statement released Dec 6 by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) as saying prosecutors had opened an investigation into Zhou’s suspected crimes and decided to arrest him according to the law.
Xinhua said the CCDI investigation report revealed that Zhou had abused his power to help relatives, mistresses and friends make huge profits from operating businesses, resulting in serious losses of state-owned assets.
He was also found to have leaked the Party’s and country’s secrets. He seriously violated self-disciplinary regulations and accepted a large amount of money and properties personally and through his family, the report added.
Zhou is also found to have committed adultery with a number of women and traded his power for sex and money. The report suggested that he could be investigated for other crimes as well.
The SPP statement was cited as saying what Zhou completely deviated from the Party’s nature and mission, and seriously violated Party discipline; that his behaviors badly undermined the reputation of the Party, significantly damaged the cause of the Party and the people, and have yielded serious consequences.
Xinhua quoted a commentary to be carried by the party mouthpiece People’s Daily Dec 6 as saying the decisions to expel Zhou from the CPC as well as to investigate and arrest him demonstrated that the CPC Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping as the general secretary, had resolved to uphold the Party’s unity and punish corruption. “The decisions won approval from the Party and the people,” the commentary was further quoted as saying, adding the decisions showed that the CPC sticks to the principle that everyone is equal before the law and nothing is off-limits in fighting corruption.
The arrest and expulsion of Zhou from the CCP comes on the back of President Xi’s much-publicised anti-corruption drive, but experts say it is driven more by internal politics within the factionalised ruling party, said an AFP commentary Dec 6 .
Zhou is now set to become the highest ranking official since the infamous Gang of Four – a faction that included the widow of founding leader Mao Zedong – to face prosecution in communist ruled China.
Some reports in overseas Chinese media suggest that Zhou’s downfall may be part of a broader effort by the Xi leadership to purge allies of former president Jiang Zemin, who retains influence over a faction of the Party, said the AFP Commentary.
Zhou was ranked 29th in the 2011 Forbes Magazine’s List of The World’s Most Powerful People, with controlling interests in the state-run oil and private security sectors, noted RFA.com Dec 5.