BEIJING, July 18 Chinese authorities began
criminal investigations on Friday into three more former
high-ranking officials over corruption allegations, all of them
allies of powerful, retired domestic security chief Zhou
Sources have told Reuters that Zhou has been put under
virtual house arrest while the ruling Communist Party
investigates him for graft, though the party has made no
announcement about his case.
Several of Zhou's political allies have been held in custody
and questioned over corruption.
China's top prosecutor said that three of them - two former
Zhou secretaries called Tan Hong and Yu Gang and a former vice
governor of the southern province of Hainan called Ji Wenlin -
were now formally being criminally investigated.
It added, in brief separate statements on its website, that
all three were suspected of taking bribes and were in custody.
No other details were provided.
It was not possible to reach any of them for comment.
Chinese media have linked all three with Zhou, though the
prosecutor did not make that connection.
The prosecutor said on Monday that it had also begun
criminal investigations into two other Zhou allies, former Vice
Minister of Public Security Li Dongsheng and Jiang Jiemin, once
the top regulator of state-owned enterprises.
As the wheels of Chinese justice can turn slowly, their
trials may be a long way off. All will almost certainly be found
guilty as Chinese courts are controlled by the Communist Party
and will not challenge the party's allegations.
President Xi Jinping has launched a crackdown on deep-rooted
graft since taking office last year, warning, like many before
him, that the problem was so severe it could affect the party's
ability to rule.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Ron Popeski)