A close political ally and former aide of ex-security czar Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for almost a year, has been formally expelled from the Chinese Communist Party for corruption recently.
Former vice governor of Sichuan Province, Guo Yongxiang, was taken away in June of 2013 to be investigated for “serious disciplinary violations,” according to reports.
This week’s announcement of Guo’s ouster from the Party by the Ministry of Supervision’s Central Discipline Inspection Commission website confirms that Guo has been found guilty of the charge, which is a standard euphemism for corruption.
The investigation found that Guo had “exacted profits for others with his power, taken a great amount of bribes and gifts himself or through the hands of his son,” the discipline commission said in its terse statement.
“Guo also sought profits for his son’s businesses with his power, and was morally corrupt,” charged the discipline commission, saying that Guo had also violated party discipline and broken laws, reported Reuters. The Party will seize his illegally acquired assets and he will be subject to prosecution.
Guo, the latest casualty in Xi Jinping’s war against corruption, was a constant companion to Zhou in their parallel rise to power in the CCP. Guo’s career overlapped Zhou’s from PetroChina, the state-owned oil giant, to Sichuan Province. For over a decade, from the early 1990s to the early 2000s, Guo was Zhou’s secretary, and as such probably knew about the illicit conduct of Zhou, suggested China expert Heng He.
Xi’s corruption probe, which has targeted officials associated with Zhou, cloaks a methodical purge of his political rivals, say some analysts.
“There’s a reasonably high likelihood that this has to do with a vendetta against Zhou Yongkang,” said Willy Lam, a professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong last summer, when Guo was first arrested.
“We’ve had ample evidence in the past that officials who have been investigated are usually also a victim of factional strife, people who are on the losing end of a factional battle,” Lam said.
In a step-by-step elimination of Zhou supporters, Xi’s corruption crackdown has weakened Zhou’s powerbase, and weeded out protégé’s of former Party leader Jiang Zemin.