September 16, 2015 / 3:40 AM / 4 years ago

China sacks brother-in-law of former aide to retired president

BEIJING (Reuters) - The brother-in-law of a former top Chinese presidential aide has been sacked as deputy mayor of a northern city, Chinese media has reported, in what could be a widening corruption investigation into the former aide’s family.

The Yuncheng City National People’s Congress Standing Committee decided on Tuesday to remove Wang Jiankang as deputy mayor, according to a report on Yuncheng city’s official news website. It did not elaborate on Wang’s dismissal. Yuncheng is a city in coal-rich northern Shanxi province.

It was not possible to reach Wang for comment on Wednesday.

Many state media outlets, including the official People’s Daily, identified Wang as the brother-in-law of Ling Jihua, a one-time senior aide to retired president Hu Jintao.

In July, the government said it would prosecute Ling after an investigation found that he took bribes and engaged in other corrupt behavior.

Wang, 60, has helped anti-graft investigators several times with the probe into Ling and was questioned as recently as July, the Beijing News reported.

Last year, Wang disappeared for 54 days after the government announced it was investigating Ling, the Beijing News said.

Ling’s elder brother, Ling Zhengce, has also been accused of corruption. Another brother, Ling Wancheng, is in the United States.

President Xi Jinping has pursued a relentless campaign against corruption since assuming power in late 2012. Xi is also party and military chief.

Xi has warned the problem of corruption among officials could threaten the party’s ability to retain power, although some analysts say he is also eliminating rivals.

Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Paul Tait

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