Ex-security czar Zhou Yongkang not mentioned at top party meeting as he's not relevant: China

China's Communist Party made no mention of the fate of China's powerful former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang at a recent key meeting because he is no longer part of the central leadership, a senior party official said on Thursday. -- PHOTO: R
China's Communist Party made no mention of the fate of China's powerful former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang at a recent key meeting because he is no longer part of the central leadership, a senior party official said on Thursday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Communist Party made no mention of the fate of China's powerful former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang at a recent key meeting because he is no longer part of the central leadership, a senior party official said on Thursday.

Mr Zhou, 71, is by far the highest-profile figure caught up in President Xi Jinping's crackdown on corruption. He is the most senior Chinese official to be ensnared in a graft scandal since the party swept to power in 1949. The absence of news about the investigation into Mr Zhou at last week's closed-door meeting of the ruling party's elite was a surprise to some.

Mr Jiang Wei, head of the Office of the Central Leading Group for Judicial Reform, told reporters that the case against Mr Zhou "strongly reflects our attitude and determination to punish corruption".

Thursday's news conference was a rare opportunity for foreign media to question the party about Mr Zhou. "You asked about why there was no mention of the Zhou Yongkang case at the Fourth Plenary Session, that is because Zhou Yongkang no longer serves on the central leadership, so this plenary session did not make a decision on his problem," Mr Jiang said.

After the media conference, an aide accompanying Mr Jiang said: "No comment, no comment" in English as a Reuters journalist attempted to ask more about Mr Zhou's case.

Mr Zhou was a member of the Politburo Standing Committee - the apex of power in China - and held the post of security tsar until he retired in 2012.

Mr Jiang said that he had no knowledge on the progress of Mr Zhou's case.

The party said in July that it had launched a corruption investigation into Mr Zhou.

Mr Zhou's case sent shockwaves through the political establishment, and served as a warning that Mr Xi was serious about his anti-graft fight and that no one was above the law, not even former Politburo Standing Committee members such as Mr Zhou.