11/06/2014, 00.00
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For Chinese authorities, Zhou Yongkang graft probe taking longer but charges will be laid

Gathering evidence into former security tsar is taking longer because of painstaking approach, China's deputy justice minister says.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The graft investigation into former security tsar Zhou Yongkang will take longer than expected because authorities are taking a painstaking approach to gathering evidence.

Once the Communist Party's anti-graft agency had completed its investigation, the government will make an announcement, China's Deputy Justice Minister Zhang Sujun said.

Zhou was placed under investigation for corruption on 29 July. This came after the authorities began prosecuting, starting in 2012, all the officials who rose to the top through economic or personal ties with the former member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo.

Zhou is the highest-ranking Party member - current or retired - to be investigated in the modern history of China.

Zhang's statements are designed to end speculation that circulated following the last plenum of the Communist Party that the authorities are trying to manipulate the investigation.

Zhou, in fact, may use the courts to make public statements against members of the current government or reveal state secrets.

Some commentators have said the silence on Zhou's case could suggest the party's top ranks had yet to reach a consensus on the most sensitive issue in China's recent history.

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