Chinese party ousts ex-security czar's former aide

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BEIJING (AP) — China's ruling Communist Party expelled three more officials, including a former secretary to a retired security czar, on Wednesday in an anti-corruption crackdown.

The move, a step toward criminal prosecution, add to a growing list of officials with personal ties to Zhou Yongkang, a retired member of the party's ruling Standing Committee, who have been snared in the crackdown.

Zhou is believed to be a key target of the campaign launched by President Xi Jinping, who has warned that pervasive corruption could threaten the party's grip on power. Zhou is rumored to be under investigation but there has been no official confirmation.

Those expelled Monday included Ji Wenlin, a former deputy governor of the southern island province of Hainan, according to an announcement on the website of the party discipline watchdog. Ji was an aide to Zhou in three posts in the central government before transferring to Hainan.

"Investigations show that Ji took advantage of his posts to seek benefits for others, demanded and received a huge amount of bribes, and committed adultery," the statement said.

The ouster of someone so closely linked to Zhou would be bad news for him. Zhou was one of nine members of the Politburo Standing Committee until his retirement in 2012.

Also expelled Wednesday were Yu Gang, the former deputy head of the general office of the party's Commission for Political and Legal Affairs, and Tan Hong, a former senior officer in the Ministry of Public Security's guard bureau. The party statement alleged Yu and Tan also took "huge bribes" and that Yu committed adultery.

The prominent business magazine Caixin said on its website that Yu and Ji had each served at different times as secretary of a former member of the Politburo Standing Committee, though it did not give the leader's name. It said Tan worked for the same leader as a "security secretary."

The three cases have been handed over to prosecutors, the party statement said.

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