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China’s former justice minister Zhenghua arrested on suspected bribery charge

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A former Chinese justice minister who took a hard line on law enforcement has been arrested on suspicion of accepting bribes and “bending the law for personal gain,” Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.

Fu Zhenghua, 67, was a rising star of law enforcement and was arrested a few days ago, Xinhua said. The case has been handed over to state prosecutors.

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Fu’s arrest follows a probe launched last year by China’s top anti-graft watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Fu was kicked out of the Chinese Communist Party and public office for breach of party discipline and rules, Xinhua reported last month.

President Xi Jinping started a campaign of purges of China’s domestic security apparatus in 2020, seeking to ensure police, prosecutors and judges are “absolutely loyal, absolutely pure and absolutely reliable.”

Fu was deputy head of the Ministry of Public Security before becoming justice minister in 2018. He led a number of high-profile investigations and crackdowns, including a probe into former security czar Zhou Yongkang, who was found guilty of corruption.

Since 2015, he headed an office dedicated to the suppression of what the ruling Communist Party calls “evil cults,” including the banned spiritual movement, Falun Gong.

Fu’s self-described “heavy fist” approach to law enforcement had won him plaudits from state media, which has previously said his campaigns helped clean up Chinese society and tackle graft.

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