CCP Casts Out Former Railway Minister

China’s Communist Party has expelled former railway minister Liu Zhijun, who was removed from his post as minister more than a year ago amid allegations of corruption, according to a decision by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. From The China Daily:

The disciplinary watchdog said Liu had taken advantage of his position to help Ding Yuxin, board chairwoman of Beijing Boyou Investment Management Corp, make huge illicit gains.

He was also charged with accepting a large number of bribes and leading a corrupt life.

His illicit gains have been confiscated and he will be handed over to the judicial department for further investigation. His disciplinary violations may include criminal acts, the watchdog said.

Lin Zhe, a professor at the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC who specializes in fighting corruption, said Liu will probably face severe punishment.

“Expelling Liu from the Party means his political life has ended,” she said, adding such punishment for an official is very heavy.

However, Lin added Liu’s case will not be brought to court any time soon, “because the case is complicated”, and more time is needed to investigate.

Removal from the Communist Party “virtually guarantees a conviction,” according to The Associated Press. The drama surrounding Liu’s sudden ouster in February 2011 has since been overshadowed by the demise of former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai, but today’s news provides hints as to how the Bo case may play out. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The handling of the railway minister’s case serves as a reminder of the steps the party traditionally takes when disciplining senior officials. It clears a politically charged case from the party’s agenda ahead of a leadership shuffle that has been complicated by the drama around Mr. Bo.

A secret process of internal review and discipline by the party precedes any judicial prosecution a top official might face. The status of Mr. Bo’s case is unknown but the party has said he is under investigation. In theory, the party’s maximum penalty is expulsion. But its handling of a case is thought by analysts to greatly influence the outcome of any subsequent judicial process.


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