Former Chinese presidential adviser Ling Jihua ′under investigation′ | News | DW | 22.12.2014
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Former Chinese presidential adviser Ling Jihua 'under investigation'

A probe has been launched into former Chinese presidential advisor Ling Jihua, according to state media. It's the latest case in a government crackdown on corruption.

The official Xinhua News Agency said on Monday former top aide Ling Jihua (pictured above) "has been placed under investigation for unspecified disciplinary violations."

The announcement via Chinese state media came two years after Ling fell out of political favor over a scandal involving an alleged cover-up of his son's death.

Ling came to the public's attention once again this year when his two brothers - one a politician in the coal-rich northern province of Shanxi and the other a businessman - were also placed under investigation.

The move sparked speculation that Ling could also be implicated under current President Xi Jinping's widening anti-corruption campaign.

The sweeping crackdown on so-called "graft" is seen as a move toward restoring public confidence in the ruling Communist Party and uncovering threats to Xi's political dominance.

Xi has already removed former Politburo member Bo Xilai after imprisoning him for life on corruption charges.

China Hu Jintao und Xi Jinping

Hu Jintao (left) congratulates Xi Jinping on his election as China's president in March 2013

In early December, authorities also arrested Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the Politburo's powerful Standing Committee, on charges ranging from adultery and bribery to leaking state secrets. Both Bo and Zhou were seen as challengers to Xi's political dominance.

End of a glittering career?

While it remains unclear whether the 58-year-old former presidential adviser will face trial, the investigation could mark the end of his political career.

The Reuters news agency quoted an anonymous source with ties to the Chinese leadership: "He is under investigation, but it does not necessarily mean he will be prosecuted."

Ling was demoted in September 2012 after sources alleged his son was involved in a fatal crash involving a luxury sports car, believed to be a Ferrari, in Beijing in March 2012.

Reuters said sources told the news agency that the incident was seen as an embarrassment for the ruling Communist Party because of the perception that the children of top party officials enjoy privileged lifestyles.

lw/glb (AP, Reuters)

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