Security around the childhood home of former security tsar Zhou Yongkang has been tightened in the past few months, according to a media report yesterday that also revealed extensive details of Zhou's upbringing.
The report, published by the Shanghai-based Oriental Morning Post on the mobile communications platform WeChat, came as a senior executive at Zhou's former power base, the China National Petroleum Corporation, resigned from the National People's Congress.
The report said villagers last saw Zhou in person in April when he told them: "This might be my last visit to see you."
The Post reported in late August that Communist Party leaders had agreed at their secretive annual "summer meeting" at the Beidaihe seaside resort in Hebei to investigate Zhou, who had retired nine months earlier, for corruption.
Zhou had been one of the most powerful men in the mainland, and was one of nine members of the party's Politburo Standing Committee, the nation's top decision-making body.
Yesterdays' report called Zhou by his original name Zhou Yuangen. It said he had stepped down from a leadership position in 2012 and was the father of Zhou Bin, who is being investigated for graft.
The report, quoting two residents of Xiqiantou, the Zhou family ancestral village in Jiangsu province, said the older Zhou's first name was changed when he was seven.
Residents said they used to see officials and businessmen visiting Zhou's younger brother, Zhou Yuanxing. But the guests had "disappeared" and surveillance cameras had recently been installed around the house of Zhou Bin in the village. Zhou Yuanxing drove a car worth millions of yuan, but was just a farmer, they said.
The report said the Zhous had been a humble family, among the poorest in the village.
Meanwhile, the graft investigation of Zhou's associates widened when it was announced that Lu Dongsheng, the Sichuan branch general manager of CNPC, had resigned from the NPC on Thursday.
Former CNPC chief Jiang Jiemin and four senior executives of the company have been under investigation since August.
The 21st Century Business Herald also reported yesterday, citing anonymous sources, that Yan Yude, chairman of Chengdu-based Derui Group, had been implicated in the investigation of Sichuan deputy party chief Li Chuncheng, a former aide to Zhou Yongkang.