Prevent graft by relatives, Chinese party members told

Party newspaper cautions those in leadership roles

BEIJING • Party members, especially those in leadership roles, need to ensure they keep their families on a tight leash to prevent graft, the official newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party (CCP) said yesterday, after a high-profile jailing.

A Chinese court on Monday sentenced a former top aide to retired president Hu Jintao for life after finding him guilty of taking bribes, illegally obtaining state secrets and abuse of power during a secret trial.

The party announced its investigation into Ling Jihua, the one-time aide to Mr Hu, in December 2014.

Ling had been demoted from a ministerial-level job in September 2012, months after his son was killed in a crash involving a luxury sports car.

His son was implicated in bribery allegations mentioned during the trial, and his wife testified against him.

OBEY THE RULES

All party comrades, especially cadres who are leaders, must deeply learn the lessons of Ling Jihua's criminal case. Strictly abide by party discipline and rules, strictly keep under control family members and those who work by your side.

A FRONT-PAGE EDITORIAL IN THE PEOPLE'S DAILY

In a front-page editorial, the People's Daily said Ling's jailing showed once again that all are equal before the law and that no matter who you are, if you break the law, you will be punished.

"All party comrades, especially cadres who are leaders, must deeply learn the lessons of Ling Jihua's criminal case," the paper said.

"Strictly abide by party discipline and rules, strictly keep under control family members and those who work by your side."

The fight against corruption has been a key policy plank of President Xi Jinping's first term in office. Although dozens of senior officials have been jailed in his purge, Mr Xi warned last week that graft was still the biggest threat to the party.

The People's Daily said that a party which is clear about clean governance and following the rules will always keep its winning position.

"Those who have power will be supervised, to ensure that the power given them by the party and the people is used to benefit the people," it added.

Ling's case had presented a dilemma for the government because of his close connection with former president Hu, Mr Xi's predecessor.

Ling once oversaw the party's General Office, which handles administrative matters for the party chief and other senior leaders. He was the equivalent of the White House chief of staff and was privy to the confidence of Mr Hu in a way few other officials were.

A government spokesman denied last year that Mr Hu was being implicated in the investigation and sources have told Reuters that Mr Hu approved of the case against Ling.

Ling joins two other notable senior party officials, Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang, in receiving a lifetime prison sentence for corruption. All three men have been accused of trying to undermine the authority of Mr Xi, who took office in late 2012, the same year that scandals involving the three men unfolded.

REUTERS, NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2016, with the headline 'Prevent graft by relatives, Chinese party members told'. Print Edition | Subscribe