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Top Chinese leader may face death sentence with reprieve

China’s disgraced top leader, Zhou Yongkang, who was arrested two days ago may face a suspended death sentence as he has been charged with leaking state secrets besides adultery, corruption and abuse of power. 

Unlike his “protege” Bo Xilai who was given a life sentence for various allegations similar to the one faced by Zhou, the top most ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) leader to have been arrested could face death sentence as he is accused of leaking state secrets, South China Morning 
Post reported. 

Zhou, 72, a former internal security chief, retired as the member of the nine member standing committee of the CPC, headed by previous President Hu Jintao in 2012. 

Zhou became the first high ranking leader to be prosecuted since Mao era. One of the charges listed against Zhou was that he leaked the party’s and country’s secrets. 

He seriously violated self-disciplinary regulations and accepted a large amount of money and properties personally and through his family, a CPC statement said about his detention. 

“In China, it’s very difficult to define what’s a state secret. As a former member of the party’s Politburo Standing Committee, anything Zhou unwittingly told anyone around him could be a ‘state secret’,” Zhang Lifan, a Beijing-based political commentator said. Bo was sentenced to life in prison last year on charges of bribery, corruption and abuse of power. “Bo’s open hearing was not good because Bo’s public image was not destroyed by it. If Zhou doesn’t want to cooperate with the authorities, he could embarrass the central leadership,” Zhang said. 


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