Zhou Yongkang, China’s one time security tzar and one of the country’s most powerful politicians till recently has been put under house arrest, reports said Wednesday evening, adding that he is being investigated for corruption.
As a former member of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) politburo standing committee, Zhou is the senior most official to be investigated for corruption.
“Zhou Yongkang’s freedom has been restricted. His movements have been monitored,” an anonymous source told Reuters news agency, adding that he cannot leave his Beijing home or receive guests without prior approval.
The government hasn’t commented on the reports yet.
But reports of his house arrest had been making the rounds in recent months and he has not been seen in public for several months.
A Taiwanese and a Hong Kong newspaper had independently claimed last week that Zhou Yongkang had been arrested.
The reports on December 2 by Taiwan’s United Daily News and on December 3 by Hong Kong’s Sing Tao Daily claimed that the CPC had cracked down on Zhou who headed China’s domestic security apparatus for five years.
Zhou is being investigated for violating party discipline, official jargon for corruption, the sources told the news agency. They did not say what the specific allegations were.
Zhou was a patron of the once high-flying politician Bo Xilai, who was jailed for life in September for corruption and abuse of power – the worst political scandal since the 1976 downfall of the Gang of Four at the end of the Cultural Revolution.
In September, China had opened investigations against the chief of the country’s state-owned assets regulatory commission in the latest high-profile case of anti-graft inquiries.
Jiang Jiemin, former general manager of the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), has been accused of serious disciplinary violations – known to be a close associate of Zhou,
Between 1996 and1998, Zhou himself was the general manager of China National Petroleum and Natural Gas Corporation and secretary of its Leading Party Members' Group
“During his ten years at or near the top of China’s security apparatus, Zhou Yongkang used the persecution of the spiritual practice of Falun Gong, which he enthusiastically implemented, to expand his budget, increase his power, and tear up any restraints posed by China’s legal system,” according to Epoch Times commentator Heng He.