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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
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.
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.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid