China's Communist Party expels former Justice Minister Wu Aiying
by Wang Zhicheng

Her expulsion happened unexpectedly. Together with her, 11 more members of the Central Committee were expelled. Eighteen members of the Central Committee and 17 non-permanent members haveb been under investigation for corruption since 2012.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – This week-end, Wu Aiying, a former Justice Minister, was expelled from the Chinese Communist Party at the end of a meeting of the Party Central Committee. This comes a few days before the Party Congress, set for October 18.

Wu's expulsion came unexpectedly. Last February, she stepped down as minister and was replaced by Zhang Jun, deputy head of the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection. Since then nothing has been said about her, and she was not involved in any investigation.

In its statement, the Central Committee noted that her expulsion was due to "serious violations of the Party's discipline", an euphemism for "corruption".

Wu, 65, had been Justice Minister for 12 years. State media report that she was responsible for the decline in the country's legal system in recent years and for the promotion of Lu Engang, a party member accused of corruption picked as head of an office in the ministry despite lying about his age and qualifications.

According to political analyst Hu Xingdou, interviewed by the South China Morning Post, Wu was a bureaucrat with little knowledge of the law and the legal system. She has been blamed for the brutal campaign against lawyers and activists, which led to the arrest and detention of about 300 people two years ago. Wu would also be responsible for China’s impenetrable and brutal prison system.

Together with Wu, another 11 members of the Central Committee were expelled from the party. In total, since 2012, when Xi Jinping launched his anti-corruption campaign, at least 18 Central Committee members have come under investigation. To these, another 17 non-permanent members of the Central Committee should be added. They too have been accused of taking bribes or abusing their power.