Trial begins for another ex-official tied to Zhou

BEIJING • The bribery trial of another former senior official tied to ousted Chinese security czar Zhou Yongkang opened yesterday, state media said, the latest in a string of graft trials and sentencings ahead of a key Communist Party meeting this month.

Li Dongsheng was accused of abuse of power and accepting nearly 22 million yuan (S$4.9 million), the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Tianjin Second Intermediate People's Court.

Li is the latest nabbed in a much- publicised anti-graft drive under President Xi Jinping, which some have described as a political purge.

The highest-ranked politician to be brought down has been Zhou, who accumulated vast power as China's security chief, rising to become a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the Communist Party's most powerful body.

Li was the fifth of Zhou's allies to face court proceedings this week.

On Monday, Jiang Jiemin, former head of the commission that oversees China's state-owned companies, was sentenced to 16 years in prison and Li Chuncheng, a former senior official in Sichuan province, was jailed for 12 years.

Wang Yongchun, a former top oil executive, and Guo Yongxiang, another Sichuan official, were both given 20 years on Tuesday.

Sichuan was one of Zhou's powerbases, as was China's oil industry, in which Guo worked for 26 years.

The verdict on Li will be announced at a later date, Xinhua reported. Chinese courts are controlled by the ruling party and have a conviction rate of 99.93 per cent.

Critics say that the Communist Party has failed to introduce systemic reforms to prevent corruption, such as public disclosure of assets.

The party's elite central committee will meet from Oct 26 to 29 to set out the 13th Five-Year plan, a blueprint for economic and social development between next year and 2020.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2015, with the headline 'Trial begins for another ex-official tied to Zhou'. Print Edition | Subscribe