The head of China's top court said that fallen security tsar Zhou Yongkang will receive an “open trial” in comments reported by state media Friday. Zhou Qiang, the president of China's Supreme People's Court, said the trial would be "open in accordance with the law," when asked about the fate of Zhou Yongkang and other senior officials facing prosecution, Reuters reported.
Zhou Yongkang's fall from grace stems from Chinese President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption drive, which has sought to stamp out official graft. However, the attempt is also seen as a means by which the leadership of China's governing Communist Party can purge political opponents.
He was arrested last year and expelled from the Communist Party. He stands accused of taking bribes and leaking state secrets.
Zhou Yongkang and former politburo member Bo Xilai have been the highest-profile official figures under the scanner of the anti-corruption drive. After a trial, Bo was stripped of all his party positions and assets and sentenced to life in prison in December 2013.
Bo was also given an "open trial," but this openness was not in line with Western standards. No independent observers or international media were allowed in the court during proceedings, the Guardian reported.
In an ominous sign for Zhou Yongkang, China's People's Daily, a state-run newspaper, seen as a mouthpiece for the country's ruling Communist Party, included Zhou Yongkang in a class with past party “traitors,” all of whom were subsequently executed.
The country's corruption crackdown – which targeted officials that had earned public disdain with high-spending lifestyles – has already led to a spate of suicides among party officials.
Rumors have abounded since Zhou Yongkang's downfall that the charges he faced were politically motivated. According to the Diplomat magazine, some of the more sensational rumors surrounding the case claim that Zhou Yongkang opposed President Xi Jinping’s rise to power.
Xi's anti-corruption campaign has had a serious effect on the behavior of officials at all levels of government.
Officials now eat and travel less at public expense, and are more cautious in distributing and accepting the bribes, the Financial Times reported.