Ex deputy communist chief of China under trial

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The former deputy Communist chief of China`s Sichuan province went on trial for corruption Thursday, a court said, the latest senior figure to be prosecuted in President Xi Jinping`s sweeping anti-corruption campaign.

Li Chuncheng, who spent the past 15 years in various government positions in the southwestern province, was accused of accepting bribes and abuse of power, the Xianning Intermediate People`s Court in Hubei said on a verified account on China`s Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

Most similar previous trials have lasted only one day.

Li is seen as a close associate of Zhou Yongkang, once a member of China`s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee who amassed vast power as head of China`s internal security apparatus.

In December Zhou was arrested, ousted from the party and placed under a judicial probe on charges including bribe-taking and “leaking state secrets”.

Another Zhou ally, Jiang Jiemin, who was charged at the same time as Li confessed to corruption at his trial last week, pictures showed.

Communist Party authorities have waged a much-publicised campaign against endemic graft since Xi ascended to the organisation`s leadership two years ago.

But critics say no systemic reforms have been introduced to increase transparency and help battle the problem, leaving the drive open to being used for factional in-fighting, while anti-corruption demonstrators have been jailed.

Corruption trials of former officials in China are closely managed by the ruling party, which retains control of China`s police, prosecution and courts.

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