CORRUPTION
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Zhou Yongkang

Plenum didn’t decide on Zhou graft case ‘as he is no longer state leader’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 October, 2014, 11:21am
UPDATED : Friday, 31 October, 2014, 2:48pm

The Communist Party broke its silence yesterday on the case of former security tsar Zhou Yongkang, saying there was no decision on his fate at its annual elite gathering because he was no longer a state leader.

But details of the investigation would be released, an official said.

The party's anti-graft watchdog announced three months ago that it was investigating Zhou - making him the first serving or former member of the elite Politburo Standing Committee to be probed - but there has been no word since on progress in the case. State media, including the People's Daily news portal, had speculated the party would expel Zhou at its plenum last week.

Jiang Wei, head of the Office of the Central Leading Group for Judicial Reform, the body overseeing wide-ranging changes to the legal system, said: "Zhou ... no longer serves as a central leadership official. Therefore, there is no decision related to his case at the fourth plenum."

Separately, Guo Yezhou, vice-minister of the party's international department, said details of the case would be released "in due course".

Both Jiang and Guo said the investigation and handling of Zhou's case showed the party's determination to fight corruption. Jiang would not say why military prosecutors gave an update on the bribery case against Xu Caihou , a former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission.

Military prosecutors announced on Tuesday they would try Xu on bribery charges after a seven-month investigation.

A Xinhua report said Xu had been stripped of all military titles, and had confessed to taking "extremely large" amounts of bribes through family members to help others gain promotion.

Commentators said the silence on Zhou suggested the party's top ranks had yet to reach a consensus on the issue.

Plenums have been used in the past to announce how cases involving high-ranking cadres would be handled. Former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai was expelled from the party at the 2012 plenum.

Zhou, reportedly a Bo ally, had a power base that extended from the petroleum industry to Sichuan officialdom, police and the legal affairs establishment. At least 37 companies, some as far afield as North America, are either owned by Zhou's family or have links to it, according to corporate documents seen by the South China Morning Post. The businesses are involved in oil production, property development, hydropower and tourism.

Analysts said Zhou was not directly involved in business deals but his son Zhou Bin , 42, held the reins.