China Communist party expels former spymaster
China’s ruling Communist Party has expelled the former deputy chief of the country’s top intelligence agency, it said yesterday, the latest high-ranking figure to face prosecution in a much-publicised corruption crackdown. Ma Jian, former deputy head of China’s ministry of state security, was suspected of taking bribes and abusing power, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) — the party’s internal watchdog-said in a statement on its website.
He “seriously violated political discipline and the code of conduct, confronted an organisational probe, as well as transferred and hid money and property related to his case”, it said. Ma was first put under investigation for “serious disciplinary violations” standard code for graft-in January 2015.
His case is being transferred to the judiciary, the CCDI statement said, where he will almost certainly be prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to prison. The announcement is part of the ongoing corruption crackdown announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping after coming to power in 2012. Since that time, the drive has punished more than one million members of the ruling party, from lowly “flies” to powerful “tigers” like Ma and his former boss domestic security czar Zhou Yongkang, although critics liken it to a factional purge.
The campaign has gained “crushing momentum”, the CCDI said Wednesday in a statement on its website that looked back at the office’s annual achievements. Moving forward, it will seek to “purge the Party’s political ecosystem”, it added, suggesting it could intensify its efforts. It has already swept through the ranks of the party, which has 88 million members.
This week alone, Chinese official media have reported the convictions of a vice-chair of the national legislature and a provincial vice-governor, the trial of a senior provincial official, the indictment of a deputy head of the Taiwan affairs office and a second vice-governor, and a probe into a senior general. Ma’s case is linked to other top officials who were thought to pose a threat to Xi, who last month lashed out at what he described as “political conspiracies” against him.
Earlier this month, Ling Jihua, the brother of a senior aide to former Chinese President Hu Jintao, was sentenced to more than a decade in prison and fined 1.5 million yuan ($215,000) for accepting bribes. Ma is “closely linked” to Ling, according to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post. Another brother, Ling Wancheng, has fled to the US, where he is reported to have shared Chinese state secrets with Washington. — AFP