China’s Ex-Security Chief Charged with Corruption

Published on Author Walker Helvey

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.


CHINAclosing-in-on-zhou-yongkang1The 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.”


2 Responses to China’s Ex-Security Chief Charged with Corruption

  1. I’m surprised that they don’t think that he will be executed like Lui Han was. It makes we wonder if part of his rampant bribery and abuse of power is what’s keeping him from the death sentence. Could he have possibly made a deal with someone to nave his neck?

  2. Any details on the national security charge(s)?

    One point of going after Zhou is to emphasize that high political status provides no insurance from prosecution. It also sends a message to the wider public security system that they’re not immune. Have any of the failings of DHS or the NSA or the DoD in the US led to people losing their jobs? – the revelations of Snowden and many others, the mixed reaction to procurement projects where the weapons involved don’t work, all these reveal problems, but the systematic response seems to be to circle the wagons, not to admit to errors and seek to improve. Maybe the Chinese approach of starting from the top has a greater impact.

    Separately, as per several posts / comments earlier in the term, who is Zhou’s replacement? a Xi loyalist? The campaign against corruption appears to be serious, but it’s also convenient.