China probes close aide to former President Hu for corruption

China probes close aide to former President Hu for corruption
Ling Jihua.

BEIJING - A senior Chinese Communist Party official who was a close aide to former President Hu Jintao is being investigated for "suspected serious disciplinary violations" - normally a euphemism for corruption - state media said Monday.

The probe into Ling Jihua, who is also a national political adviser, was announced by the ruling party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Ling is vice chairman of the national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a top advisory body.

He also heads the United Front Work Department of the party's Central Committee.

Ling found himself in the media spotlight after his son Ling Gu died in a Ferrari crash in Beijing in March 2012.

Also in the car were two young women who were seriously injured, one nude and the other partly clothed.

Despite a media blackout surrounding the crash, China's Internet users questioned how the son of a party official could afford a car worth a reported five million yuan (around S$1.06 million). 

Ling Jihua was removed from a key party post and given a less high-profile position after the accident, which added to public perceptions in China of corrupt and high-living officials.

In June the party announced an investigation into his brother Ling Zhengce for "serious discipline violations".

Ling Zhengce was a vice-president of the Shanxi provincial branch of the CPPCC.

The communist party's anti-corruption drive began after Xi Jinping took the helm of the organisation two years ago, with the powerful former security chief Zhou Yongkang being the highest-ranking official ensnared.

The campaign has netted high-level "tigers" as well as low-level "flies", but critics say the party has failed to introduce systemic reforms to prevent corruption such as public disclosure of assets. 


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