Thursday, 11 June 2015

Bagging the Big Tiger

Zhou Yongkang in court saying he will not appeal the verdict
Former security chief Zhou Yongkang's trial apparently came and went because a few hours ago it was announced he was handed a suspended life sentence -- ie life in prison.

The closed-door trial apparently began on May 22 at Tianjin No. 1 Intermediate People's Court, and only now was it explained that the trial was not open to the public because "some evidence of his crimes involved state secrets".

It wasn't really surprising Zhou would be jailed for life, but seeing him with completely white hair was a shock. Depriving him and other arrested leaders of black hair dye really transforms them into remorseful looking creatures, unlike their power-trip days.

Zhou is the highest official to be arrested, put on trial and now in prison, and was convicted on many charges, including graft abuse of power, and intentionally leaking state secrets.

For abuse of power, he was given a seven-year sentence, and four for leaking state secrets.

When it came to taking bribes, the court revealed he and his family had taken 129.7 million yuan worth of bribes from Zhou's close allies.

There was the 731,100 yuan from Jiang Jiemin, former head of the state owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, and former chairman of the state-run China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), where Zhou was the top official for a decade.

Then his son Zhou Bin and wife Jia Xiaoye also benefited handsomely, receiving 129 million yuan from other people, including a Sichuan businessman, a former mayor, and former party chief of a subsidiary of CNPC.

The court said Zhou had abused his power by asking Jiang and former Sichuan deputy party chief Li Chuncheng to funnel more than 2.13 billion yuan to his son and other businessmen. This was somehow calculated as a loss of 1.48 billion yuan to the Chinese economy.

Zhou also apparently had six classified documents, and gave five of them to a "qigong master", according to mainland media. Sounds like there will be more about this supposed master by the name of Cao Yongzheng.

The court spared Zhou the death penalty because it said he confessed to his crimes, pleaded guilty and apparently all the money taken has been accounted for and confiscated.

Really? Every single mao and fen were accounted for? Everyone must have squirreled it away and not spent it on anything, or perhaps they made so much money from that capital that it was easy to return the original amount...

Nevertheless, it's interesting how long Zhou has been in detention (since two years ago) and last July there was a formal announcement of an investigation into alleged abuse of power and corruption.

Now that the big tiger has been bagged, his associates are next. The chances of them being let go are very slim mainly because of their links with Zhou...

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