China: Disgraced Zhou Yongkang’s son and wife are jailed

BBC | June 15, 2016

The son and wife of imprisoned former Chinese security chief Zhou Yongkang have been jailed after they were found guilty of corruption, officials say.

Zhou’s son Zhou Bin was imprisoned for 18 years while his his wife Jia Xiaoyue will serve nine years.

Zhou Yongkang was once one of the most powerful officials in China, running the internal security forces.

He was jailed for life after his corruption conviction last year, partly as a result of his family’s testimony.

Zhou is the most senior official to fall as part of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, which was launched in 2012.

Illicit gains

The son and wife of Zhou Yongkang (above) have now followed him into jail. Photo: Reuters
The son and wife of Zhou Yongkang (above) have now followed him into jail. Photo: Reuters

A court in the central city of Yichang found Zhou Bin guilty of taking 222 million yuan ($34m; £24m) in bribes and running an illegal business trading in restricted commodities, the CCTV state broadcaster reported.

The court confiscated what it said were his illicit gains and fined him a total of 350 million yuan ($53m; £37m), CCTV said.

The same court also imprisoned Zhou Yongkang’s wife Jia Xiaoye – a former TV journalist – for taking bribes. She was fined 1m yuan ($150,000; £105,000)

Zhou Bin initially escaped arrest by going to the US in early 2013, sources told the Reuters news agency. But he returned to China after negotiations with Chinese authorities. It is not clear whether he had legal representation.

Zhou Bin used his father’s influence “in collaboration with others” to accept valuable property, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Zhou Yongkang was a member of China‘s elite Politburo Standing Committee and was responsible for the police, the judiciary and domestic surveillance.

But he became one of the most senior leaders to be imprisoned by the Communist Party took since the early 1980s, when the Gang of Four were put on trial for instigating the chaos of the Cultural Revolution.

Scores of Zhou’s associates have also been arrested, mostly in the southern province of Sichuan where he was head of the Communist Party from 1999 to 2002.

President Xi has warned that corruption is widespread and jeopardises the Chinese Communist Party’s future survival.

The president’s campaign against graft has embroiled senior party officials, the government, the military and state-owned companies.