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Former top Chinese official arrested in corruption probe

(CNN) — China’s former top domestic security official, Zhou Yongkang, has been arrested as part of a corruption probe, the country’s state-run Xinhua news agency reports.

Zhou — who had been one of nine members of China’s top decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee, before stepping down in late 2012 — was also expelled from the Communist Party, according to Xinhua, citing a decision made Friday at a meeting of the party central committee’s political bureau.

The decision comes amid a much touted anti-corruption campaign launched by President Xi Jinping, one that has already ensnared several men who had once been prominent figures in government and the ruling Communist Party.

Corruption is a lightning rod for public discontent across the Asian nation, which for decades has been run by the Communist Party. After taking power in late 2012, Xi banned official extravagance — from banquets to year-end gifts — and vowed to target “flies and tigers” alike in his fight against corruption when describing his resolve to spare no one, regardless of position.

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One of them was Gen. Xu Caihou, a former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, which runs the world’s largest standing army. Xu was expelled from the party and handed over to prosecutors after being found to have accepted bribes, Xinhua reported in June. Like Zhou, Xu was in the Politburo before retiring in 2012.

Also this summer, Xinhua reported on the downfall of Su Rong, a former vice chairman of China’s top political advisory body. State media reported that Su and his wife profited tremendously through bribes and illegal land deals when he ran the southeastern province of Jiangxi.

Zhou officially got caught up in this campaign in July, when the Communist Party announced it was opening a probe into the retired senior leader for a suspected if then unspecified “serious disciplinary violation.”

According to a statement released Saturday by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, or China’s prosecutor’s office, an investigation determined that Zhou took advantage of his positions to garner profits for others “and accepted huge bribes personally and through his family,” Xinhua reported. He did so to help relatives, mistresses and friends, leaking party and country secrets while hurting state-owned assets, according to Xinhua.

The same report noted that investigators found that Zhou had affairs with a number of women, trading “his power for sex and money.”

“What Zhou did completely deviated from the (Communist) Party’s nature and mission, and seriously violated Party discipline,” Xinhua said, citing the statement from the procuratorate. His behavior “badly undermined the reputation of the Party, significantly damaged the cause of the Party and the people and have yielded serious consequences.”

SOURCE: http://edition.cnn.com/

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