Zhou Yongkang, the former Chinese security czar, has been charged with bribery, abuse of power, and intentionally leaking state secrets. While bribery and abuse of power are typical charges in cases dealing with corrupt Chinese officials, the charge of intentionally leaking state secrets is very rare and the consequences highly severe.
The ambiguous state secret law covers a wide array of criteria, ranging from information on soil and air pollution to intelligence on China’s national economic and social development. Liu Han, a Chinese mining tycoon who was linked back to Zhou Yongkang, has already been executed along with three of his associates for “running a mafia style gang” among other charges.
Zhou at one point held an important position on China’s highest governing body and was in charge of the state’s security, intelligence, and police agencies. He is said to be the main target of president Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, which is allegedly aimed at both “low-level flies” and “high-powered tigers.”
Zhou was arrested and expelled from the Party in December, and experts believe Zhou will receive a suspended death sentence that will effectively keep him in prison for the remainder of his life. Prosecutors claim Zhou “used the advantages of his position to seek benefits…and gain large sums of illegal wealth.” A report published by Xinhua says that Zhou’s abuse of power “caused public assets, the country, and the people to suffer great losses.”