China’s former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, who was indicted early this month on charges of receiving bribes, abuse of power and disclosing of state secrets, is the highest Communist Party official so far to be targeted by President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption among senior party leaders. While Xi’s anti-graft drive has helped him to rapidly consolidate his power base, it remains to be seen whether he intends to change the system that has allowed corruption to flourish in the first place.
Zhou was the No. 9 leader under the regime of Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao, and controlled China’s courts, police, domestic security forces and state intelligence service. He is the first former member of the party’s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee to be tried for corruption. The prosecution office said Zhou “took advantage of his positions to seek gains for others, illegally accepted massive amounts of wealth from others, abused his power, leading to major losses to public assets and to the interests of the state and people.”
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