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.
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.
Last December, a report in the official Xinhua news agency had revealed the scope of investigation against him. 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.