BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s disgraced former domestic security chief, Zhou Yongkang, looks set to be expelled from the ruling Communist Party at a key meeting next week, sources said, possibly paving the way for his formal prosecution.
Zhou is the most senior party member to have been targeted in a corruption probe since the Communists swept to power in 1949, and President Xi Jinping has made fighting graft a cornerstone of his administration.
At a four-day party plenum beginning on Monday in Beijing, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, its main anti-graft body, will present its findings in a report on Zhou, said three sources, who all spoke on condition of anonymity.
“The Central Committee is expected to approve (a proposal to) expel Zhou for grave violations of party discipline and decide whether to turn him over for prosecution,” one source with leadership ties told Reuters.
The source added that the judicial process could be lengthy.
“If the Central Committee votes to prosecute Zhou, the process will drag out due to a lack of (judicial) manpower and the complexity of the case.”
The Central Committee is the largest of the party’s elite decision-making bodies, made up of some 200 members who can vote and around 170 alternate members who do not have a vote.
The party announced in July that Zhou was being investigated by its anti-corruption watchdog for suspected “serious disciplinary violations”, the usual euphemism for graft, although it could also imply other wrongdoing.
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