China pursues more graft cases as crackdown rages on

SHANGHAI - Chinese authorities are pursuing separate corruption cases against two top officials including the brother of a former top aide to ex-president Hu Jintao, state media reported Friday, as a crackdown on graft continues.

The Communist Party's corruption watchdog said that Ling Zhengce, former vice chairman of an advisory body to the local legislature in the northern province of Shanxi, had been expelled from the party for abusing his position and taking bribes, the official Xinhua news agency reported, a move which signals future criminal prosecution.

The report made no mention of his tie to brother Ling Jihua, once one of Hu's most senior advisers, who was expelled from the party and handed over to prosecutors who formally arrested him in July.

The development came three years after Ling Jihua's son was killed in a Ferrari crash that also injured two female passengers, one of them naked, a scandal that helped trigger his downfall.

The party announced an investigation into Ling Zhengce in June 2014.

Separately, prosecutors have charged a former vice minister of public security, Li Dongsheng, with taking bribes and other alleged crimes, Xinhua reported.

Li's case is believed to be tied to that of former security chief Zhou Yongkang, who was sentenced to life in prison at a secret trial in June.

Zhou is a former member of the party's all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, and wielded vast power as head of the police and courts until his retirement in 2012.

A court found Zhou and a number of associates received more than 2.1 billion yuan ($328 million) in profits from illegal business activities.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has launched a much-publicised drive to crack down on corruption, vowing to take on both senior "tigers" and low-level "flies". But critics say that no systemic reforms have been introduced to combat graft.