Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Top China aides ousted from Communist Party as anti-corruption drive intensifies

By Zoe Li, CNN
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1159 GMT (1959 HKT)
Zhou Yongkang was considered to be one of the most powerful men in China.
Zhou Yongkang was considered to be one of the most powerful men in China.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ji Wenlin, Yu Gang, Tan Hong have ties to powerful former head of domestic security, Zhou Yongkang
  • The three officials have been expelled from Communist Party for corruption and adultery
  • China watchers: Corruption is widespread in China, new laws are needed

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Three more officials have been given the chop as part of China's anti-corruption drive. The disgraced politicians are the latest in a string of purges of former aides to Zhou Yongkang, China's retired chief of domestic security, fueling speculation that Zhou will eventually face charges.

Ji Wenlin, former deputy governor of Hainan, and Yu Gang, former senior official in the Politics and Legal Affairs Commission, have both been expelled from the Communist Party for taking "huge bribes" and committing adultery, announced the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) on Wednesday.

Adultery, while not illegal in China, is considered a serious violation of Party regulations.

The third official charged with corruption is Tan Hong, a former senior officer in the Ministry of Public Security.

On China: Tigers and flies
On China: fashion and corruption
Author: Corruption hurt Communist Party

All three have close ties to Zhou, working under the security czar at some point during their careers. Zhou was a former member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's top decision-making body, until he retired in 2012. He was considered one of the most powerful men in China, serving as the head of China's security and police institutions.

Rumors surrounding Zhou's downfall have been circulating on China's social media for two years, gaining momentum in recent months as high-profile corruption probes have led to the detention of senior officials linked to him throughout his career. Zhou would become the highest-ranking official ever to face corruption charges in the history of the People's Republic.

But there has been no official announcement of an investigation into Zhou. Reuters has reported sources saying Zhou is now under house arrest.

China's anti-corruption campaign catches another 'tiger'

Netted 'tigers'

In 2013, some 182,000 officials were disciplined while courts nationwide tried 23,000 corruption cases, according to the CCDI.

After coming into power in late 2012, President Xi Jinping banned official extravagance -- from banquets to year-end gifts -- and vowed to target "tigers and flies" alike in his fight against corruption when describing his resolve to spare no one regardless of their position.

On Monday, one of the biggest "tigers" met his downfall: Xu Caihou, former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission that runs the world's largest standing army, and a former Politburo member, was found to have accepted bribes.

READ: Top Chinese general expelled from Party

Longtime China observers, however, point to the limits of President Xi's war on corruption.

"Corruption is so widespread and so endemic that campaigns are just not going do it," said Frank Ching, a Hong Kong-based commentator and columnist on Chinese politics. "Something has to be done about the system."

"There have been public calls for a law to require officials disclosing their assets. There has been no indication that they are going to do that. In fact, a number of people calling for this law have ended up in prison," he added.

"I think people will be much more convinced of the seriousness of this anti-corruption campaign if there were a move to enact such a law."

READ: Xi's push to add 'chili pepper' to China's anti-corruption drive

CNN's Steven Jiang and Jaime FlorCruz contributed to this article.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
See CNN's complete coverage on China.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0230 GMT (1030 HKT)
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 0911 GMT (1711 HKT)
Is Xi Jinping a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0344 GMT (1144 HKT)
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
July 4, 2014 -- Updated 0631 GMT (1431 HKT)
26-year-old Ji Cheng is the first rider from China to compete for competitive cycling's highest honor.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, may not yet be a household name outside of China, but that could be about to change.
July 4, 2014 -- Updated 0414 GMT (1214 HKT)
Hong Kong's narrow streets were once a dazzling gallery of neon, where banks and even bordellos plied their trade under sizzling tubular signs.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1159 GMT (1959 HKT)
Three more officials have been given the chop as part of China's anti-corruption drive, including former aides to the retired security chief.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
As thousands of Hong Kongers prepare for an annual protest, voices in China's press warn pro-democracy activism is a bad idea.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 0437 GMT (1237 HKT)
Hong Kongers are demanding the right to directly elect their next leader, setting up a face-off with Beijing.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0656 GMT (1456 HKT)
The push for democratic reform in Hong Kong is testing China's "one country, two systems" model.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Along a winding Chinese mountain road dotted with inns and restaurants is Jinan Orphanage, a place of refuge and site for troubled parents to dump unwanted children.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0836 GMT (1636 HKT)
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout invites Isaac Mao, Han Dongfang, and James Miles to discuss the rise of civil society in China and social media's crucial role.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0334 GMT (1134 HKT)
Chen Guangbiao wants rich people to give more to charity and he'll do anything to get their attention, including buying lunch for poor New Yorkers.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Architects are planning to build the future world's tallest towers in China. They're going to come in pretty colors.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1147 GMT (1947 HKT)
Anna Coren visits Yulin's annual dog meat festival. Dogs are part of the daily diet here, with an estimated 10,000 dogs killed for the festival alone.
June 19, 2014 -- Updated 0638 GMT (1438 HKT)
People know little about sex, but are having plenty of it. We take a look at the ramifications of a lack of sex education in China.
June 13, 2014 -- Updated 0812 GMT (1612 HKT)
Hong Kongers have reacted angrily to a Chinese government white paper affirming Beijing's control over the territory.
The emphasis on national glory -- rather than purely personal achievement -- is key.
June 16, 2014 -- Updated 1614 GMT (0014 HKT)
A replica of the Effel Tower in Tianducheng, a luxury real estate development located in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province.
What's the Eiffel Tower doing in China? Replica towns of the world's most famous monuments spring up all over China.
June 11, 2014 -- Updated 0013 GMT (0813 HKT)
Rapid development hasn't just boosted the economy -- it has opened up vast swathes of the country, says a man who has spent much of his life exploring it.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 0654 GMT (1454 HKT)
The World Cup is apparently making a lot of people "ill" in China.
ADVERTISEMENT