A top aide to China’s former president Hu Jintao who will face prosecution on corruption charges has been expelled from the Communist Party and removed from public office, Chinese state news media reported on Monday.
The charges against the official, Ling Jihua, 58, are the result of an internal investigation begun last December by the party’s Politburo, which found evidence that he took bribes, committed adultery and improperly hoarded a large amount of state and party “core secrets,” according to a report by the state-run Xinhua news agency.
The decision to prosecute Mr. Ling, who once held a position akin to that of White House chief of staff under Mr. Hu, is the latest move by Mr. Hu’s successor, President Xi Jinping, as he seeks to scour the party of official corruption while purging his political rivals, experts say.
“This is absolutely about rooting out the people Xi perceives as working against him,” said Joseph Fewsmith, a professor at Boston University who specializes in politics among China’s elite.Mr. Ling’s spectacularly lurid downfall began in 2012 when he was demoted following reports that his son had been killed in a high-speed crash driving a Ferrari on a Beijing road. Two female passengers were injured in the accident, and one of them later died. According to party officials, Mr. Ling went to great lengths to cover up the crash, with the families of both women paid enormous amounts of hush money.