News / Asia

China to Launch Corruption Probe Into Former Senior Politician

Chinese former Politburo Standing Committee Member Zhou Yongkang gestures as he speaks at a group discussion of Shaanxi Province during the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, in this picture taken March 12, 2011. Chinese former Politburo Standing Committee Member Zhou Yongkang gestures as he speaks at a group discussion of Shaanxi Province during the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, in this picture taken March 12, 2011.
x
Chinese former Politburo Standing Committee Member Zhou Yongkang gestures as he speaks at a group discussion of Shaanxi Province during the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, in this picture taken March 12, 2011.
Chinese former Politburo Standing Committee Member Zhou Yongkang gestures as he speaks at a group discussion of Shaanxi Province during the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, in this picture taken March 12, 2011.
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
A Hong Kong newspaper says China has decided to start a corruption investigation into retired politician Zhou Yongkang, who until last year was one of the country's elite leaders.

The South China Morning Post on Friday said the decision to launch the investigation was confirmed by sources "familiar with the leadership thinking" of China's Communist Party.

The 70-year-old Zhou was a member of the elite Politburo Standing Committee, China's highest governing body, from 2007 to 2012. He also oversaw China's sprawling state security apparatus.

China's government has not commented on any investigation. If confirmed, it would be the first time in decades that the party has investigated economic crimes by a former or current Standing Committee member.

Joseph Cheng, a professor of political science at the City University of Hong Kong, said he thinks it is not likely that President Xi Jinping, who just came to power last year, would pursue graft charges against such a prominent, well-connected ex-official.

"The present leadership does not seem to want to be involved in political controversies or to be involved in serious factional infighting," he said. "Xi Jinping appears to be interested in maintaining some kind of balance, avoiding controversies, avoiding confrontations."

Some also pointed out that Zhou's name was mentioned this week in a state media report that said he laid a wreath at the grave of a deceased party official, in what could be a sign he remains politically active.

There had already been rumors about a possible corruption case against Zhou. The former leader is a close ally of disgraced former Politburo member Bo Xilai, who himself is awaiting a verdict in his trial last week for taking bribes, embezzlement and abuse of power.

The Communist Party has acknowledged widespread corruption within its ranks. It has made a highly publicized effort to crack down on graft, pursuing charges against several lower level officials.

But analysts say it is riskier for Beijing to go after senior officials, many of whom have reportedly used their leadership positions to amass huge amounts of wealth.

The New York Times reported last year that the family of former prime minister Wen Jiabao had accumulated $2.7 billion in hidden assets. China denied the story, calling it a "smear" with "ulterior motives."

The South China Morning Post's report said that Zhou, who also served as the ministry of land and resources and the party chief of Sichuan province, will be investigated for his alleged part in oil field and property deals that profited his family.

If an investigation were to be carried out, it is not clear whether Zhou would face criminal charges, such as Bo, or be subject to an internal party disciplinary committee.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid