Ex-senior aide to Hu Jintao faces graft trial

Ling Jihua is accused of receiving sexual favours, illegally obtaining core state secrets and colluding with his wife to take bribes.
Ling Jihua is accused of receiving sexual favours, illegally obtaining core state secrets and colluding with his wife to take bribes.

BEIJING • China has said it will prosecute a former senior aide to ex-president Hu Jintao after a probe found he had taken bribes and engaged in other corrupt behaviour, making him the latest top official to fall in a graft crackdown.

Ling Jihua, 59, has been expelled from the Communist Party and his case handed over to the judicial authorities, the Xinhua news agency said yesterday. This means he will face prosecution.

The authorities accuse Ling of receiving sexual favours, illegally obtaining core state secrets and colluding with his wife to take bribes and seek gains for her business activities, according to a government statement carried by Xinhua.

Ling's case posed a dilemma for Beijing. His position was particularly sensitive because of his close connection with Mr Hu, President Xi Jinping's immediate predecessor.

 

Ling, a former head of the Communist Party's General Office of the Central Committee and vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, was said to have suffered a nervous breakdown after his detention.

Once tipped for a spot in the politburo of the Communist Party, Ling found himself in the spotlight after the death of his son Ling Gu in a car crash in March 2012.

Two young women, one naked and the other partly clothed, were seriously hurt in the Ferrari crash.

Despite a media blackout on the accident, Internet users questioned how the son of a party official could afford a car reportedly worth about US$800,000 (S$1.1 million).

Six months later, Ling was demoted from his ministerial-level job.

In December last year, the ruling party announced an investigation into Ling for "suspected serious disciplinary violations".

President Xi's sweeping crackdown on corruption has so far targeted hundreds of thousands of officials at all levels of the government and state-owned industry.

Launched in 2012, the campaign targets not only low-ranking officials known as "flies", but also top officials or "tigers".

Even those in the top echelons of the Communist Party and state apparatus, once seen as untouchable, are not immune.

The biggest "tiger" snared so far has been former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, 72, who the government said last month had been imprisoned for life for bribery, leaking state secrets and the abuse of power following a closed trial in May.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2015, with the headline 'Ex-senior aide to Hu Jintao faces graft trial'. Print Edition | Subscribe