A group of Communist Party elders has issued a daring open letter calling for the removal of China's top security official, amid political upheaval ahead of a once-a-decade leadership transition.
The calls for the sacking of Zhou Yongkang, one of China's top nine leaders, are closely linked to the recent fall of Bo Xilai -- another high-ranking official -- which triggered the nation's biggest political scandal in decades.
Zhao Zhengrong -- a retired anti-corruption official from Zhaotong city in the southwestern province of Yunnan -- told AFP he and 15 other party members had sent the proposal advocating Zhou's removal to higher authorities.
“We are demanding this because Zhou Yongkang directed the ‘Chongqing model’ and supported Bo Xilai. They are liars, they are of the same ilk,” Zhao said. Two other signatories to the letter confirmed it.
Zhao was referring to Bo's rule of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, which included an anti-mafia crackdown that many say involved widespread use of torture, and a leftist revival that saw residents sing Maoist songs. The letter is an audacious step in China, where open dissent or organised criticism of leaders is punished normally.