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Zhou Yongkang’s Downfall

A ChinaFile Conversation

Sebastian Veg, Roderick MacFarquhar & more

On July 29, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Chinese Communisty Party announced it was investigating ex-security czar Zhou Yongkang “on suspicion of grave violations of discipline.” Zhou, who retired from the Politburo Standing Committee in 2012, is the first member of that body, the Party’s elite inner circle, to face such an inquest for corruption and abuses of power. We asked contributors for their reactions to the news.—The Editors...

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Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Ex-Politburo Members Accused of ‘Serious Discipline Violations’ Always Face Courts

Some Concerned Zhou Yongkang Will Get Off Lightly


After much speculation, the axe has finally fallen on Zhou Yongkang, the former public security chief and member of the Politburo Standing Committee, indicating the Communist Party’s campaign against corruption will grant no exceptions to the powerful.The Xinhua News Agency reported on July 29 that the Party’s 205-member Central Committee decided to launch an inquiry into Zhou over “serious discipline violations.”Zhou was a member of the elite, 25-member Politburo from 2002 to 2007, then held membership on its standing committee—the apex of the Party’s power—from 2007 to 2012. ...

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Say It Ain’t So, Zhou

China Reacts to the Downfall of its Once-Powerful Security Czar

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime

It was an exchange perfectly tailored for modern Chinese politics: alternately unscripted and cagey, chummy but laced with a hint of menace. At a Beijing press conference following a Chinese Communist Party meeting in early March, a reporter for Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post had just asked Party spokesman Lu Xinhua whether foreign reports about the imminent downfall of Zhou Yongkang—once the country's feared Security Chief, Politburo Standing Committee member, and part-time oil baron, whose investigation for...

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Paper Tiger

China’s Once-Feared Top Security Chief Zhou Yongkang Became Just a Sad Old Man

Tea Leaf Nation, Isaac Stone Fish & more

For 10 months, the fate of Zhou Yongkang existed in a space of plausible deniability. Respected Western media outlets had reported that the 71-year-old Zhou, a retired official who served as China's much-feared domestic security czar from 2007 to 2012, was being investigated for corruption and had been placed under house arrest. Chinese state media published long exposés on the alleged corrupt practices of his son Zhou Bin, and on his many associates and protégés. But they never once uttered his name.Sometimes they obliquely called him “The Tiger,” in reference to...

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Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

The Vast Network of Influence Surrounding China’s Former Security Czar Zhou Yongkang

Isaac Stone Fish, EG365 & more

The greatest unsolved mystery in China right now is not the disappearance of Malaysian airliner MH370 but the fate of Zhou Yongkang, the feared former head of China’s security apparatus. From 2007 to 2012 a member of China’s top political body, the Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou is now reportedly under investigation for corruption, casting suspicion on hundreds, if not thousands, of his of his allies, subordinates,...

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Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Hong Kong Rising: An Interview with Albert Ho

Perry Link & Ian Johnson

The former British colony of Hong Kong reverted to China on July 1, 1997, and on every July 1 since then Hong Kong citizens have marched in the streets asking for democracy. The demonstrations on this year’s anniversary, however, were on a much larger scale. According to the police, they drew nearly one hundred thousand people; the movement’s organizers estimate that as many as a half million people took part. The protests were not violent, and there were no clashes with the security forces who were closely monitoring the crowd. As part of the protest, in the early morning of July 2 about one thousand people sat down in Hong Kong’s central district in a disciplined exercise of civil...

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Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Hong Kong Protests and Suicide in China

The Sinica Podcast

Jeremy Goldkorn, David Moser & more

This week on Sinica, we’re delighted to welcome back the stalwart Mr. Gady Epstein, Beijing correspondent for The Economist, to discuss the recent protests in Hong Kong, as well as the flux in China’s suicide rates. And specifically, we’ll be looking at the similarities and differences in the stories told by officials and rural women on this front.ListenRecommendations:...

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