Ferrari crash reports bring fresh political scandal in China
BEIJING (AFP) - China's leadership has been hit by a fresh scandal ahead of a 10-yearly power handover, with reports that a close ally of the president was demoted following his son's involvement in a fatal Ferrari crash.
China said over the weekend that Mr Ling Jihua, who has close ties to outgoing President Hu Jintao, had been removed as head of the Communist party's powerful Politburo general office and given a new, less high-profile post.
It gave no explanation for the surprise move, but a day later, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, quoting unnamed sources, said Mr Ling's son had died in a high-speed Ferrari crash in Beijing in the early hours of March 18 that also injured two young women, one of whom was naked.
Reports of the crash first surfaced in March on China's popular microblogs, along with speculation that the son of a senior Communist leader had been involved, but were quickly suppressed by the country's army of online censors.