China to prosecute ex-spy chief for graft

[Reuters] BEIJING, Dec 31: China will prosecute one of its former spy chiefs after accusing him of bribery and abusing his power to interfere in law enforcement, the ruling Communist Party said yesterday.

Ma Jian, once a vice-minister at China’s Ministry of State Security, is the most senior security official to be investigated since former domestic security tsar Zhou Yongkang was ensnared in a graft scandal and jailed for life last year.

Ma, who was put under investigation in January last year, has been expelled from the party and will be handed over to the legal authorities, said the party’s graft watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

This means that he will be prosecuted.

A source with ties to the leadership has previously told Reuters that Ma was director of the ministry’s “No. 8 bureau”, which is responsible for counter-espionage activities concerning foreigners.

Ma worked at the spy agency for more than 30 years and was closely tied to Ling Jihua, a one-time senior aide to former president Hu Jintao, according to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.

Ling was jailed for life in July.

Separately, a court in the northern city of Zhengzhou yesterday handed out a 13-year jail sentence to a former top security official in restive Tibet.

Le Dake, who was head of the State Security Department in Tibet from 2004 to 2013, was found guilty of bribery, the court said in a statement on its official microblog.

China’s state prosecutor yesterday formally accused the former deputy head of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, Gong Qinggai, with bribery and abuse of power.