China’s former security chief, Zhou Yongkang, has been charged with bribery, abuse of power and disclosure of state secret, making him the most senior Chinese official to be targeted in years.
Zhou,73, who was the head of China’s internal security till he retired in 2012, was a member of the elite standing committee of the Communist Party of China’s politburo.
An investigation into Zhou’s affairs during the time he held top offices was announced in July 2014 and he was expelled from the CPC.
Zhou held several top positions in the party as well in China’s mammoth state enterprises.
“Zhou served as deputy general manager of China National Petroleum Corporation, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Sichuan Provincial Committee, and member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee while minister of public security and state councillor,” a state media report said on Friday.
Rumours were making the rounds of an impending investigation against him soon after corruption charges were levelled against his protégé, Bo Xilai, now serving a life sentence for graft and abuse of power.
Zhou’s expulsion from the CPC was seen as President Xi Jinping’s efforts to improve the image of the party and strengthen his own position.
State media reported on Friday that the charge against Zhou that he disclosed state secrets was particularly serious.
“Zhou took the advantage of his posts to offer interests to others and illegally accepted a huge amount of money and property,” the state media report said, adding: “Zhou's abuse of power resulted in grave losses of public property and interests of the country and the people. The social impact was bad and his act was "particularly serious.” according to the indictment.
“He also intentionally disclosed state secrets and his act was particularly serious,” state media quoted the indictment statement as saying.
Friday’s report did not mention earlier accusations of adultery against Zhou.
Last December, a report in the official Xinhua news agency had revealed the scope of investigation against him.
“The investigation found that Zhou 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. He abused his power to help relatives, mistresses and friends make huge profits from operating businesses, resulting in serious losses of state-owned assets,” the report said.
The indictment against Zhou was brought on Friday at a court in Tianjin, a port city near Beijing.
The date of his trial is yet to be announced.