In December 2012, Li Chuncheng, then Deputy Party Secretary of Sichuan Province, was put under investigation, becoming the first high-ranking official to fall in Xi Jinping’s new campaign against corruption. Li, a close associate of Zhou Yongkang, has now been expelled from the Party and stands accused of bribery and abuse of power, paving the way for a criminal trial. From AP:
Li’s downfall in late 2012 was unexpected and swift, coming less than a month after a party congress named him a non-voting member of the Central Committee, a position that usually makes one a member of the political elite.
Since then, more political and business associates of Zhou have come under investigation.
The party’s disciplinary arm said in a statement Tuesday that an internal investigation found Li to be “degenerate.” It said Li used his position to seek benefits for others, including business interests for his brother, and that he, his wife and daughter took “huge amounts” of bribes. [Source]
Brian Spegele at the Wall Street Journal further reports on the accusations against Li and his family:
The announcement by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection on its website late Tuesday said that Li Chuncheng is suspected of bribery and abuse of power and was being transferred to judicial authorities after his expulsion from the party.
“Li Chuncheng took advantage of his position to seek benefits for others and accepted huge amounts of bribes,” read the statement.
The statement also implicated Mr. Li’s wife, daughter and younger brother. It accused the wife and daughter of accepting what it called huge amounts of property from others. Mr. Li couldn’t be reached for comment. He hasn’t been seen in public since late 2012 when the party announced that he was under investigation, and it wasn’t known whether he had a lawyer. His family similarly couldn’t be reached. [Source]
In recent months, a number of associates, colleagues and family members of former security chief Zhou Yongkang have been investigated or detained. Read more about the corruption crackdown, via CDT.