China opens criminal case against former rising star Sun Zhengcai on graft charges
Former Communist Party leader in Chongqing, once tipped as a national leadership contender, accused of bribery, abuse of power and leaking secrets
China’s prosecutor has begun formal legal proceedings for alleged corruption against the former senior politician Sun Zhengcai, once considered a contender to be one of the nation’s top leaders.
The Supreme People’s Procuratorate said in a brief statement it had opened an investigation against Sun for suspected corruption and he was now under detention. The case was proceeding, it added, without giving any other details.
The next probable step against Sun will be to put him on trial.
As the youngest member of the party’s decision-making Politburo since 2012, Sun, 54, had long been viewed by analysts as a potential senior leader.
He was abruptly removed from his position as Communist Party secretary in Chongqing in July.
He was placed under investigation by the party’s anti-graft agency later the same month.
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection concluded its investigation in late September and accused Sun of leaking secrets, bribery and abuse of power.
He was sacked from the Politburo and expelled from the party just weeks ahead of its five-yearly congress in October, where a key reshuffle took place.
Sources familiar with political circles in Chongqing told the South China Morning Post previously that numerous top officials in the city had been caught up in the investigation into Sun.
Fourteen of the 43 delegates elected in May – under Sun’s leadership – to attend the party congress in Beijing were later disqualified from taking part. Those disqualified included five members of the Chongqing party standing committee.
“More than 10 of our party representatives – most of whom weren’t chosen in May – were added to the list for the congress in September,” one of the Chongqing delegates told the Post on the sidelines of the party congress.
Chongqing is perhaps best known outside China for its association with Bo Xilai, another former party leader in the city who was jailed for life on corruption charges four years ago.
Additional reporting by Reuters