China indicts former aide to disgraced security tsar Zhou Yongkang

BEIJING (REUTERS) - A one-time aide to China's disgraced former security chief Zhou Yongkang has been indicted on charges of taking bribes, the government said on Friday, the latest of Zhou's allies to be put up in front of the legal system.

President Xi Jinping has launched a sweeping crackdown on corruption since taking power in 2013, warning that the problem is a threat to the party's very survival.

Li Chongxi, once the top political adviser in the south-western province of Sichuan, one of Zhou's old strongholds, was expelled from the ruling Communist Party in September and accused of corruption.

Li took advantage of his positions to seek benefits for others and illegally procured "huge amounts" of funds and property, the state prosecutor said in a brief statement.

He will be tried in Nanchang in the southern province of Jiangxi, it added, without saying when the trial would open.

The party controls the courts, which will not challenge the charges against him.

Li's official biography says he was promoted to be a deputy provincial party boss and head of the province's anti-graft body during Zhou's tenure in Sichuan.

China charged Zhou with leaking state secrets this month, a crime punishable by death. He has also been charged with bribery and abuse of power.

Zhou, once one of China's most powerful politicians, was a member of the elite Politburo Standing Committee. He held the position of domestic security tsar until he retired in 2012.

Many of his political allies, including Jiang Jiemin, the former top regulator of state-owned enterprises, have been also been felled in the anti-graft crackdown.

Zhou, 72, is the most senior Chinese official to be ensnared in a graft scandal since the party swept to power in 1949.