January 21, 2015 / 10:43 AM / 5 years ago

China says ousted security tsar's influence corrupted others

China's former Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang reacts as he attends the Hebei delegation discussion sessions at the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing in this October 16, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Jason Lee

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s domestic security chief said his disgraced predecessor, Zhou Yongkang, led many others astray, alluding to a widening crackdown on Zhou’s friends and associates, the Beijing News reported on Wednesday.

Meng Jianzhu made the comments at a conference on politics and law, saying Zhou’s pursuit of “money, power and the sex trade” had caused serious harm to the ruling Communist Party, the state-run paper reported.

“We must not only reflect on the painful lessons of the Zhou Yongkang case, but also completely eliminate its influence,” Meng added.

Last year, China arrested Zhou and expelled him from the party, accusing him of crimes ranging from taking bribes to leaking state secrets. The party’s top anti-graft watchdog has said his case has been handed over to judicial authorities.

Zhou, 71, is by far the highest-profile figure caught up in President Xi Jinping’s campaign against corruption. He is the most senior official to be ensnared in a graft scandal since the party swept to power in 1949.

Many Zhou associates have already been taken down in the anti-corruption drive, including Ma Jian, a senior spy boss who had worked under Zhou.

Li Dongsheng, former vice minister of public security, Jiang Jiemin, the former head of the state asset regulator, and Wang Yongchun, former deputy head of state energy giant China National Petroleum Corporation, have also been felled. All of them had ties to Zhou.

Reporting By Megha Rajagopalan; Editing by Nick Macfie

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