Former President Hu Jintao’s top aide has been arrested on corruption
charges, stripped of his party membership and removed from all
government positions, China’s state media said.
The ruling by the
Communist Party’s Politburo came seven months after Ling Jihua was
placed under internal investigation for disciplinary violations.
fall of Ling has come amid a stern anti-corruption campaign by Hu’s
successor Xi Jinping. The campaign is seen by many as a means to not
only restore public confidence in the ruling party, but also to root out
threats to Xi’s political dominance.
Jeffrey Bader, a senior
fellow at the Washington-based think-tank Brookings Institution, said
the expulsion of Ling from the party and the arrest was long expected.
the sign of the determination of Xi Jinping and the leadership to go
after high-level actors in the anti-corruption campaign,” Bader said.
political motivation to purge Ling is unclear, said Steve Tsang, senior
fellow at the University of Nottingham’s China Policy Institute.
“We have not heard of any real personal grudge that Xi Jinping would have against Ling Jihua,” Tsang said.
Ling held a sensitive position but never made it into the party’s top echelon.
was no evidence linking Ling to opposing Xi, and the Youth League
faction to which he belonged has not been politically targeted at the
high level, Tsang said.
Ling, formerly head of the party’s
general office under Hu, became well known in China in 2012 when his son
crashed a Ferrari in Beijing with two nude or half-dressed women,
according to various reports. Ling was accused of covering up the
The Xinhua News Agency said the internal investigation
found Ling took huge amounts of money through bribery and used his
position to seek benefits for others. It said Ling had allowed his
family to benefit financially from his political influence.
report specifically said Ling’s wife, Gu Liping, received bribes and
that her business activities benefited from Ling’s status. Gu was
involved with non-governmental organisations on youth issues.