05/11/2015, 00.00
CHINA
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Beijing postpones Zhou Yongkang’s trial until further notice

The former powerful "national security tsar" was be the first Politburo member - in office or retired - to end up in the dock in China. The trial’s postponement has triggered speculation. Some suggest that he might have retracted his confession or might have decided to cooperate with investigators against other members of China’s top leadership.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – The trial date for China's former powerful security tsar Zhou Yongkang has been postponed. Sources told the South China Morning Post that the trial was originally set for late April, but that this had now been pushed back.

The reason for the delay is not known, but there is speculation that Zhou may have retracted his confession or that the case against him might not be as solid as thought.

The investigation against Zhou began in August 2013, a year after he retired from active political life, as a consequence of President Xi’s anti-corruption campaign "against tigers and flies" after the latter came to power.

The former “national security tsar” was accused of taking large bribes during his tenures as vice general manger of state-run China National Petroleum Corporation, provincial Communist Party chief in Sichuan, head of the Ministry of Public Security and as chief of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission.

“[Zhou’s] abuse of power has led to great losses of public funds and has done severe damage to the national and the public interests, causing adverse social impact,” the Procuratorate said in a statement on 3 April 2015. These are capital offences.

No details were given of the allegations that he had intentionally leaked state secrets. However, according to some analysts, his cooperation with investigators could be a delaying tactic against other top officials and individuals in Chinese society.

For Beijing-based political commentator Zhang Lifan, if Zhou felt the court was likely to hand him the death sentence, he might have decided to retract his statements in order to implicate other officials who might otherwise have gone free.

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