BEIJING (AA) – Zhou Yongkang, the former head of China’s security service, has been arrested and expelled from the Communist Party, state media reported Saturday.
Zhou, who headed China’s huge state security apparatus until he retired two years ago, is the highest-ranking official to be investigated under President Xi Jingping’s anti-corruption drive.
Reporting a statement issued by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Xinhua news agency said Zhou, who is in his 70s, had been investigated and found to have “seriously violated the Party’s political, organizational and confidentiality discipline.”
“He took advantage of his posts to seek profits for others and accepted huge bribes personally and through his family,” Xinhua said, citing the detailed statement.
“He abused his power to help relatives, mistresses and friends make huge profits from operating businesses, resulting in serious losses of state-owned assets.
“Zhou leaked the party’s and country’s secrets. He seriously violated self-disciplinary regulations and accepted a large amount of money and properties personally and through his family.
“Zhou committed adultery with a number of women and traded his power for sex and money.”
His arrest was announced by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, China’s chief prosecution agency, late Friday night.
As secretary of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee between 2007 and 2012, Zhou had overseen China’s police, intelligence agencies, court system and paramilitary forces.
Zhou – previously a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s top decision-making body – was close to former Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai, sentenced to life imprisonment last year on bribery charges.
Many of Zhou’s former allies and relatives also face investigation over corruption claims.
A commentary in the People’s Daily, the government’s official newspaper, said Zhou’s arrest and expulsion demonstrated the Communist Party’s “belief of safeguarding the people’s fundamental interests.”
It added: “We need to advance the anti-corruption drive through the investigation of Zhou’s serious violations of party discipline. We must stick to the attitude of no tolerance, the resolve of strong treatment, the courage to scrape poison from the bones and the measure of severe punishment.”
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