11/30/2021 12:26:57 pm

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Zhou Yongkang Corruption Probe A China Rule Of Law Double Standard

Zhou Yongkang

(Photo : Reuters / Stringer) Chinese former Politburo Standing Committee Member Zhou Yongkang gestures as he speaks at a group discussion of Shaanxi Province during the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, in this picture taken on March 12, 2011.

The probe on retired senior party leader Zhou Yongkang corruption may be an outright purge rather than a Beijing attempt to implement an effective rule of law as part of China's anti-corruption campaign.

In a South China Morning Post published on Monday, observers note a discrepancy between China's advocacy and the current conditions Zhou Yongkang has been subjected to during the course of the investigation.

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The op-ed questioned why, unlike Zhou, other officials suspected of corruption were not subjected to the government's standard disciplinary Shuanggi process. In typical Shuanggi procedures, Zhou has been detained for months with no contact with family, friends and legal advisors.

While it is unlikely Zhou would have been subjected to any form of physical abuse due to his former position, the secretive investigation procedure must have surely been mentally exhausting.

The op-ed argued that the procedures - which are restricted specifically for party members - are inconsistent with the Criminal Procedure Law and the constitution.

The Politburo has announced that it plans to focus discussions during the October fourth plenary session on the implementation of an effective governing rule of law, stressing that all shall be equal before the law.

And in what may be intended as a precedent for the implementation of the rule law in fighting against corruption, the party announced on the same day the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection's near-completion of the probe into Zhou, a decision that will likely end up in court, the op-ed said.

If the party elects to prosecute Zhou, the op-ed noted that evidence must be obtained through legal and universal channels.

The article questioned whether judges and prosecutors would be able to exclude unlawfully obtained evidence and arrive at an impartial ruling, citing the Politburo's campaign for lawyers to maintain and protect the rights of the citizens according to the law.

Although Zhou's case is an extraordinary one and cannot be considered as representative of the way the government administers justice, the op-ed points out that if violations of Chinese law are already evident in a major case such as this, what other violations could take place in less prominent ones.

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