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China Arrests Former Domestic Security Chief


China has arrested a former domestic security chief in the highest-profile case in President Xi Jingping's crackdown on corruption.

Zhou Yongkang is accused of crimes ranging from accepting bribes to leaking state secrets.

The decision comes after the Communist Party in July said it was investigating Zhou.

According to a statement issued by the official Xinhua news agency early on December 6, the ruling Communist Party's decision-making politburo said that Zhou's case had been handed over to judicial authorities.

In a common accusation used to discredit fallen officials, Xinhua said Zhou had committed adultery with a number of women and had "traded his power for sex and money."

Party members are banned from keeping mistresses.

Chinese media have portrayed the case against Zhou as another example of the Communist Party's desire to root out corruption regardless of one's rank.

However, analysts say it is in fact part of factional politics in the ruling party's upper echelon.

Zhou was considered by many observers and political experts to have been a key rival to Xi.

By targeting Zhou, Xi showed the considerable power he has amassed since he took the helm of the party in November 2012.

Zhou spent the early part of his career in the oil sector, rising through the ranks over several decades to become the general manager of China National Petroleum Corp., one of the world's biggest energy companies, in 1996.

He then served as party chief of Sichuan province between 1999 and 2002, and became a Politburo Standing Committee member and the national security chief in 2007.

Critics have said policies and practices introduced by Zhou, including indiscriminate crackdowns and harsh measures to preserve social stability, have trampled on laws and sabotaged China's legal system.

But it is almost certain Zhou will not be held accountable for such offenses.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
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