Disgraced Chinese Security Czar’s Former Aide Under Graft Probe

The Chinese Communist Party’s top official in the central province of Hebei has become the latest target of President Xi Jinping’s more than two-year-old campaign against corruption.

Zhou Benshun, the party’s Hebei chief, was put under investigation for suspected violations of party discipline and state law, according to a statement posted Friday on the website of the party’s top graft-busting agency, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Zhou is the first incumbent provincial party chief to be targeted in the anti-graft drive, which was launched shortly after Xi took power in November 2012 and has so far snared more than 100,000 high-ranking “tigers” and lowly “flies.”

The latest probe comes as the Communist Party’s leadership prepares to thrash out its social and economic blueprint at an October plenum, which is expected to focus on rebooting the nation’s reform agenda.

Zhou, 62, served on the party’s political and legal committee from 2003 to 2013, and was assisting disgraced former security chief Zhou Yongkang. Zhou was sentenced to life in prison in June after a secret trial during which he pleaded guilty to charges including bribery, abuse of power and leaking state secrets, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.