President Xi Jinping has allegedly taken the steps to form a special unit to investigate the Zhou Yongkang graft scandal, ‘bypassing’ the usual internal disciplinary system of the Communist Party, according to a recent report by SCMP that used unnamed sources.
The report claims that Xi has taken a special interest in the case of Zhou, who was previously a key ally of Bo Xilai as well as the first member of the Politburo Standing Committee to be investigated for economic crimes since the Cultural Revolution.
Beijing police chief Fu Zhenghua will report directly to Xi, according to police and graft watchdog sources. Fu is the first person in the party’s history to also hold the concurrent posts of head of Beijing’s armed police, the Standing Committee member of the party’s Beijing municipal committee and deputy minister of public security.
The arrangement is unusual and reflects not only the sensitivity of Zhou’s case but also Xi’s personal interest in it. Corrupt officials are usually dealt with by the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and kept incommunicado in an extra-legal, internal system of detention called shuanggui for interrogation before being handed to police and prosecutors.
It is speculated in the article that Xi and the CCDI head Wang Qishan have sought out more experienced police to handle the investigation, rather than the CCDI, whose methods have recently been questioned.
“…at a time when the leadership was calling for greater rule of law, it was important that a special unit investigated corruption cases to avoid the much-criticised shuanggui system,” one unidentified source told SCMP.
Earlier tonight, CCTV on its official Twitter account confirmed the report by way of Tweet, only to immediately delete the Tweet inexplicably.