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China opens criminal probe against top Communist official

Sun Zhengcai

Beijing, Dec 11 (UITV/IANS) - China's prosecutor announced on Monday the launch of a criminal investigation for corruption against Sun Zhengcai, a former senior official who, until his fall into disgrace, was considered a favourite for national leadership.

Sun, former secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Chongqing region, is accused of accepting bribes and is subject to coercive measures within an ongoing investigation, the Supreme People's Procuratorate said in a statement.

These measures could include arrest, detention and compulsory attendance before judicial authorities.

The politician was removed from his post in Chongqing on July 15 and replaced by Chen Miner, the propaganda chief of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Sun, 54, was one of the youngest members of the CPC Politburo and, until his removal, was considered one of the top contenders for prominent posts in the party's Congress in October, including as Xi's possible successor.

Since 2012, Sun had been in charge of Chongqing, a region in the southwest which has witnessed tremendous economic development in the last few decades.

Another former Chongqing party chief, Bo Xilai, was at the centre of the biggest corruption scandal in modern China in 2012 and sentenced to life in prison a year later.