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  • Nov 27, 2014
  • Updated: 10:22am
Zhou Yongkang

Zhou Yongkang, former security tsar linked to Bo Xilai, faces corruption probe

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 August, 2013, 7:15pm

Top Communist Party leaders have agreed to open a corruption investigation into former security tsar Zhou Yongkang, one of China's most powerful politicians in the past decade.

The move against Zhou - a retired member of the Politburo's all-powerful Standing Committee - could send even bigger political shockwaves through Beijing than the trial of Bo Xilai, who was widely considered a key Zhou ally.

Current and retired top leaders endorsed the decision earlier this month during the secretive annual party meeting at the resort of Beidaihe in Hebei province. According to sources familiar with the leadership's thinking, President Xi Jinping and his administration are determined to use the case to galvanise the anti-graft campaign.

No Politburo Standing Committee member - retired or sitting - has been investigated for economic crimes since the end of the Cultural Revolution nearly 40 years ago.

Sources said top leaders made the decision in view of the rising anger inside the party at the scale of the corruption problem and the vast fortune that Zhou's family has amassed. Xi ordered officials in charge of the case to "get to the bottom of it".

By investigating Zhou, who is one rank higher than Bo in the power structure, Xi would be seeking the biggest scalp in the party's campaign against graft.

The investigation of Bo was launched last year under Xi's predecessor Hu Jintao.

Speculation about a possible investigation into Zhou and his family began circulating on the internet even before he retired from his party position at the party's national congress in November.

The speculation increased in December, when party graft investigators began detaining dozens of cadres and businessmen in energy-rich Sichuan province, where Zhou was party boss from 1999 to 2002.

In June, former deputy Sichuan governor Guo Yongxiang - a former secretary to Zhou - was detained.

Authorities also revealed this week a probe into China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which Zhou joined as a senior manager in the early 1990s. Four top managers at the company have been named as being under investigation in recent days.

It is understood the new probe will centre on Zhou's time in Sichuan and at CNPC.

In particular, investigators will examine whether Zhou and his family benefited through numerous questionable oilfield and property deals facilitated by his son, Zhou Bin , and other allies, sources said.

They added it was too early to say whether Zhou - who controlled legal and law enforcement affairs for 10 years from 2002 - would face public prosecution or just an internal party probe.

Corruption investigations involving senior officials must first be conducted by the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. The case may or may not then be transferred to the government for follow-up.

Because of the scale and far-reaching implications of the Zhou case, the investigation may not be publicised before the keynote meeting of the party elites in November.

The move against Zhou, however, was deemed unlikely to trigger a factional war within the party, sources said.

Former president Jiang Zemin - a political patron of Zhou's - gave Xi's decision his full backing, sources said. Jiang similarly moved against the now-convicted Shanghai party boss Chen Liangyu - another ally - when presented with concrete evidence against him. Zhou has been seen as an ally of former Chongqing party boss Bo, who is awaiting a verdict on corruption charges.

Before Bo's fall from grace last year, Zhou reportedly worked behind the scenes to have him installed as his successor.

Zhou has maintained a public profile since his retirement. As late as Wednesday, his name appeared among top state leaders who sent wreaths to the funeral of a respected scientist. In July, state media publicised a visit by Zhou to his alma mater, Suzhou Middle School in Jiangsu province. But the timing of the publication - more than two months after the visit - only fed speculation about Zhou's status.

Zhou Yongkang inspects the Special Police Academy of the Chinese People's Armed Police Force in Beijing, July 14, 2011.

Before party leaders took the decision to probe Zhou, anti-graft investigators spent months collecting evidence.

Party investigators typically sweep up top aides and underlings of primary targets first, weakening their political bases and preventing collusion between key suspects. Li Chuncheng , a former deputy party secretary in Sichuan, became the first senior official targeted in Xi's anti-graft drive.

He was placed under investigation for breaching party discipline in December.

Earlier this month, overseas media reported that graft investigators had detained Sichuan businessman Wu Bing - who is widely believed to have financial connections to Zhou - after tracing him in Beijing. The report could not be verified, but Wu has not been seen in public since.

On Monday, Xinhua reported that Wang Yongchun , a CNPC deputy general manager, was being investigated for "gross violation of party discipline".

Zhou Yongkang's career:


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John Adams
This speaks to me as great hope for China.
If Xi Jinping really has the courage and dermination to tackle corruption at the highest levels in the CCP he will go down in China's history as a truly great person, as did Sir Murray Maclehose in HK.
Another Social Critics...
Coming Turn will be that 'CY' & Its Related Group in HKSAR's...
Abuses of Power, Manipulation for Self-Profiteering, Triad Involvement...Evidenced!!!
Embezzlement, Corruption be Prosecuted, Only more Informers be Needed!!!
From Central to Provincial to State Organisations...
Should be Turn for HKSAR's...For HK's Good-Sake & Its Betterment!!!
IMMEDIATE DISMISSAL of that 'CY' & Its Related Group in HKSAR's...
Do HK's Peoples another Great Achievement...
For HK's People...Betterment & Its Future...
Of course Jiang Zemin gave full backing on this...they probably have so much dirt on him that he needs to go along with pretty much anything now and they're not yet willing to actually smear a former president who was appointed by All Powerful Leader Deng Xiaoping, regardless of the evidence they have on him!
"Corruption probe." Does not sound good. I remember when Cartman got the anal probe from the aliens. Not a good scene.
should include Jia Qing Ling as well.. he is corrupt or more than these two!!!
Van Ly
Going forward, the Big Bang in physics is the way to deal with corruption. Agree to new rules and norms everyone must follow from now on. Let it be known a healthy independent media will expose future corruption and there will be consequences and punishment if found.
Past wrong-doing before the Big Bang is a matter for history and embarrassment but not to be punished. Going after them to destroy people and parties may have unintended consequences. It is enough to slap them on the wrist and confiscate any unmerited enormous excess wealth they would otherwise lose gambling on a casino table or leave somewhere offshore and forget about.
YES!! You beat me to it. INVESTIGATE Jia QL!!!! Dirty POS totally supported Lai Changxing during the "good years" in Xiamen!
oh, how well informed you are....
Zhang Zemin was one of the biggest supporter of Bo Xilai...
It is a war of the right and the left wing of the CCP. So are free to guess who is one the right and the left....
If you need to imagine this... how about, with the USA - Republicans vs. Democrates. lol.
LoL...LoL...yeah I'm so funny, I laugh at my own comments and then write "lol".
And if you, along with so many other dupes, feel the need to bring American politics into the conversation, totally out of context, then that shows a lot of vapidness.
Oh, and "support" in China changes with the wind of self preservation. LOL.
But thanks for reinforcing my information.
So much about my guess about your age. Remember, next week the new school term starts.



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