11 January 2015
The political downfall of a former aide to Hu Jintao was finally confirmed some two years after a speeding Ferrari first crashed along a Beijing street in 2012. In a brief statement released last week, the Central Committee for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) announced that Ling Jihua, vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, had been indicted for “serious discipline violations.” Following the impeachments of Zhou Yongkang and Xu Caihou, Ling was the third high-profile politician to be ensnared in China’s anti-graft movement in 2014.
Ling’s fall from grace is particularly stark, considering that his political star was on the rise in the lead-up to the 18th Party Congress, where he had been primed for a seat on the 25-member Politburo. As a key member of Hu Jintao’s inner circle, Ling’s access to China’s former top leader meant that he had been favored to join the ranks of the country’s most powerful politicians. Following the car crash involving his son and two female passengers, however, Ling subsequently failed to make the cut and was also stripped of his post as director of the influential General Office of the CCP’s Central Committee.
While Ling had largely stayed out of the political limelight in the past two years, it became clear earlier in the year that the CCP had not forgotten his previous indiscretions, when the party’s anti-corruption agency began initiating proceedings against Ling Zhengce and Ling Wancheng. The two – respectively a provincial official of Shanxi, and a businessman – are brothers of Ling Jihua. In the same manner in which other senior party officials such as Zhou Yongkang had been toppled, the CCDI steadily worked its way towards Ling – its intended target and big “tiger” – by first taking out the small “flies” associated with him.
…James Char is a Research Analyst with the China Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 03/12/2015