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article imageChina's Communist Party expels top member ahead of congress

By AFP     Sep 29, 2017 in Politics

China's Communist Party expelled a top member for "serious discipline violations" on Friday, removing a former contender for a leadership post before a major congress due to consolidate President Xi Jinping's power.

Politburo member Sun Zhengcai was kicked out of the party and dismissed from public office after the Political Bureau of the party's central committee approved an investigation's report, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Xinhua did not provide more details, but Sun had been under investigation by the Communist Party's anti-corruption watchdog.

When Sun was sacked as party chief in the major southwest city of Chongqing in July, analysts said the move would have implications for the party's twice-a-decade congress, which starts October 18.

Sun was replaced in the city by former Xi aide Chen Miner.

At the congress, Xi is expected to secure a second five-year term as party chief and cement his position as the most powerful Chinese leader in a generation.

Sun had once been tipped for promotion to the Politburo's elite, seven-member standing committee. At 53, he was the youngest member of the 25-member Politburo and he was even seen in some quarters as Xi's potential successor.

Sun was the first serving member of the Politburo to be placed under investigation since Bo Xilai, also a former Chongqing party chief who was jailed for life in 2013 in the wake of Xi's anti-corruption campaign.

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