China opens bribery trial of ally to disgraced security chief

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 13, 2015 2:52 AM

BEIJING (Reuters) - The corruption trial of a former senior Chinese official allied with the country's once powerful but disgraced security chief Zhou Yongkang began on Tuesday, state media said, the latest case in an ongoing anti-graft campaign.

President Xi Jinping has warned that rampant corruption threatens the survival of the ruling Communist Party and has waged a war on graft in the past three years that has felled scores of senior officials in the party, the government, the military and state-owned companies.

A court in the northeastern city of Tianjin opened the trial of former vice governor of the southern province of Hainan, Ji Wenlin, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Ji, whose criminal probe began as early as 2014, illicitly received more than 20.4 million yuan ($3.2 million) in assets and bribes between 2002 and 2013, Xinhua said.

"Prosecutors presented relevant evidence, the defendant Ji Wenlin and his defenders examined the evidence, and both sides fully issued opinions," the news agency said.

Ji was an associate of Zhou, 72, the most senior Chinese official to be ensnared in a graft scandal since the Communist Party swept to power in 1949. Zhou was jailed for life in June.

According to his official biography, Ji had worked under Zhou when the latter was the party boss of Sichuan province and the public security minister, among other posts.

Chinese courts in Hubei province on Monday sentenced two other key Zhou allies, Jiang Jiemin and Li Chuncheng, to 16 and 13 years respectively for bribery and abuse of power.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Nick Macfie)