China’s corruption crackdown gets even more serious and reaches its elite governing committee

Zhou, center, is introduced during a conference last year.
Zhou, center, is introduced during a conference last year.
Image: AP/Alexander F. Yuan
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Zhou Yongkang, the former security chief and oil industry veteran known for his embrace of labor camps and brutal treatment of protesters and dissidents, will be investigated for corruption, marking the first time since China’s Cultural Revolution that a member of the Politburo Standing Committee has been investigated.

“Current and retired top leaders endorsed the decision earlier this month during the secretive annual party meeting at the resort of Beidaihe in Hebei province,” The South China Morning Post reports. ”According to sources familiar with the leadership’s thinking, President Xi Jinping and his administration are determined to use the case to galvanize the anti-graft campaign.” Beijing is particularly incensed by the “the vast fortune that Zhou’s family has amassed,” the report said.

As Quartz reported earlier, the noose has been tightening around Zhou since his retirement last November, with key allies in the oil industry and from the Sichuan Province detained in corruption probes.  Zhou is a former ally of Bo Xilai, the disgraced Politburo member whose high-profile trial concluded this week.

The investigation against him may not be publicized until a meeting of party elites in November, the SCMP said.