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Watch your families, China party says after latest graft case

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Ling Jihua pauses during a meeting in Beijing in 2013. Party members, especially those in leadership roles, need to ensure they keep their family members on tight leash to prevent corruption, the official newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party said on Tuesday after a high-profile jailing.

[BEIJING] Party members, especially those in leadership roles, need to ensure they keep their family members on tight leash to prevent corruption, the official newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party said on Tuesday after a high-profile jailing.

A Chinese court on Monday jailed a former top aide to retired President Hu Jintao for life after finding him guilty of taking bribes, illegally obtaining state secrets and abuse of power during a secret trial.

The party announced its investigation into the one-time aide to Mr Hu, Ling Jihua, in December 2014. Ling had been demoted in September 2012 from a ministerial-level job, months after his son was killed in a crash involving a luxury sports car.

His deceased son was implicated in bribery allegations mentioned during the trial, while Ling's wife testified against him.

In a front page editorial, the People's Daily said Ling's jailing showed once again that all are equal in front of the law and that no matter who you are if you break the law you will be punished.

"All party comrades, especially cadres who are leaders, must deeply learn the lessons of Ling Jihua's criminal case," it said.

"Strictly abide by party discipline and rules, strictly keep under control family members and those who work by your side," the paper added.

The fight against corruption has been a key policy plank of President Xi Jinping's first term in office, with dozens of senior officials jailed in his purge.

Mr Xi warned last week though that graft remained the biggest threat to the party.

The People's Daily said that a party which is clear about clean governance and following the rules will always keep its winning position.

"Those who have power will be supervised, to ensure that the power given them by the party and the people is used to benefit the people," it added.

Ling's case had presented a dilemma for the government, because of his close connection with former President Hu, Mr Xi's predecessor.

A government spokesman denied last year that Mr Hu was being implicated in the investigation and sources have told Reuters that Hu approved of the case against Ling.

REUTERS