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China ex-security chief charged with bribery, abuse of power

3 April 2015 9:08


China’s former top security official, Zhou Yongkang, has been formally charged with bribery, abuse of power and disclosing state secrets, authorities say.

A Chinese court in the northern port city of Tianjin received the indictment on Friday, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) confirmed.

“The defendant Zhou Yongkang… took advantage of his posts to seek gains for others and illegally took huge property and assets from others, abused his power, causing huge losses to public property and the interests of the State and the people,” the indictment noted.

The charge now puts Zhou as the most senior Chinese official to be prosecuted in decades, setting the stage for a high profile trial.

In December, Zhou was formally arrested and expelled from China’s Communist Party, after months of investigation into allegations that he intentionally leaked state secrets.

Zhou played a role in the country’s oil industry and accumulated vast power as he became a member of the Communist Party’s elite Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), China’s top decision-making body.

China’s anti-corruption campaign

Chinese President Xi Jinping kicked off an anti-corruption campaign soon after taking office late in 2012. Since then, several high-profile lawmakers have been charged with corruption and expelled from the ruling Communist Party.

Zhou, who once oversaw a budget of USD 111.6 billion, has been accused of manipulating the judiciary and police to aid the scandal-hit former communist party official, Bo Xilai, and his crackdown on organized crime in the region of Chongqing. Many say the region’s judiciary and police have been involved in widespread use of torture.

Several of Zhou’s allies have also been brought down in the campaign, among them Jiang Jiemin, the former head of China’s state-owned assets watchdog.

Jiang Jiemin, the former head of China’s state-owned assets watchdog

China investigated more than 25,000 people for corruption in the first half of 2014.

President Xi has pledged to root out the worst abuses, which have fanned deep public anger, vowing to deal with every corrupt official, whether “tigers” or “flies.”

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