(From Reuters)

The brother of a former top Chinese presidential aide has been expelled from the ruling Communist Party and public office, the government said Friday, paving the way for his prosecution for violations such as accepting bribes.

Ling Zhengce is the elder brother of Ling Jihua, a one-time senior aide to former president Hu Jintao
Ling Zhengce is the elder brother of Ling Jihua, a one-time senior aide to former president Hu Jintao

Ling Zhengce, the former deputy head of the parliamentary advisory body in the coal-rich northern province of Shanxi, is the elder brother of Ling Jihua, a one-time senior aide to former president Hu Jintao.

Ling Zhengce violated rules of self-discipline by accepting monetary gifts and exploiting his position, besides seeking benefits for relatives, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said.

“In addition to this, Ling Zhengce’s behavior interfered with and hindered organizational investigation,” the anti-graft watchdog said in a statement on its website.

Authorities announced an investigation into Ling in June 2014.

The latest move to eject him from the party and strip him of his official post is a necessary procedural step in passing the case to judicial authorities for prosecution.

China has demanded the return of his brother, businessman Ling Wancheng, who has fled to the United States, the New York Times has reported, in a case that could seriously strain ties if he seeks to defect.

Another brother, Ling Jihua, was demoted in September 2012 after sources said his son was killed driving a luxury sports car, an embarrassment for the party, which is sensitive to perceptions that children of top officials live rich, privileged lifestyles.

Authorities announced in July that he would face prosecution after an investigation revealed crimes that damaged the party’s image, such as receiving money and gifts from unnamed people, having affairs with numerous women and trading power for sex.

Ling Jihua’s case has presented a dilemma for Beijing; his position is particularly sensitive because of his close connection with Hu, President Xi Jinping’s predecessor.

Since assuming power in late 2012, Xi, who doubles as party and military chief, has pursued a relentless campaign against corruption.

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

Prosecutors also handed corruption cases against two allies of disgraced retired domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang to judicial authorities in the northeastern city of Tianjin, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Zhou, 72, who was jailed for life in June, is the most senior Chinese official to be ensnared in a graft scandal since the Communist Party swept to power in 1949.

His associates Ji Wenlin, the former deputy governor of the southern province of Hainan, and former deputy public security minister Li Dongsheng, are suspected of accepting bribes and abusing their positions, Xinhua said.

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