China indicts former senior provincial official for graft

China has indicted Zhou Benshun, the former Communist Party boss of Hebei province, on suspicion of bribery.
China has indicted Zhou Benshun, the former Communist Party boss of Hebei province, on suspicion of bribery.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has indicted the former Communist Party boss of the northern province of Hebei on suspicion of bribery, the state prosecutor said on Thursday (Oct 29).

The offical, Zhou Benshun, previously had worked with China's disgraced one-time domestic security chief, who was jailed for life in June after a secret trial in China's most sensational graft scandal in 70 years.

As the party boss in Hebei, Zhou was the top official in the province surrounding Beijing and China's most important steel producer.

The prosecutor said Zhou was subject to "coercive measures", a term which normally refers to detention. He was sacked in July accused of "serious breaches of discipline and the law", a euphemism for corruption.

The prosecutor provided no further details and it was not possible to reach him for comment. It is also unclear if Zhou has a lawyer. The party's corruption watchdog handed his case over to legal authorities earlier this month.

The Hebei city of Zhangjiakou this year won the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympics along with Beijing. Zhou had attended meetings of the bid committee.

Zhou became party chief in Hebei in 2013. He had worked for five years in the Central Politics and Law Commission as its secretary general, under Zhou Yongkang, the domestic security chief jailed in June.

The two are not related despite sharing a family name.

President Xi Jinping, who doubles as party and military chief, has pursued a relentless campaign against deep-rooted corruption since assuming power three years ago, vowing to go after powerful "tigers" as well as lowly "flies".