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China official demoted after son crashes car

China’s leadership transition has been hit by reports of fresh scandal,with a senior ally of President Hu Jintao being demoted after sources said the ally’s son was involved in a deadly crash involving a luxury sports car

Written by Reuters | Beijing | Published: September 4, 2012 1:22:02 am

China’s leadership transition has been hit by reports of fresh scandal,with a senior ally of President Hu Jintao being demoted after sources said the ally’s son was involved in a deadly crash involving a luxury sports car.

The car — a Ferrari according to some of the sources — crashed in Beijing on March 18 in an embarrassment for the ruling Communist Party,sensitive to perceptions that children of top party officials live rich,privileged lifestyles out of touch with the masses,the sources said.

The country has already been rocked by the biggest political scandal in two decades — the sacking of Bo Xilai,a senior politician whose wife received a suspended death sentence for the murder of a British businessman.

The car crash,the details of which are still a mystery,reportedly involved the son of Ling Jihua,55,who state media said was dropped at the weekend as head of the party’s General Office of the Central Committee. It is a powerful post,similar to cabinet secretary in Westminster-style governments.

Ling is very close to Hu. He had been eyeing a promotion to the Politburo and to become head of the party’s Organisation Department,which oversees the appointment and dismissal of senior officials,sources said.

“The central leadership decided that the scandal over the incident was too serious to allow Ling Jihua to be promoted,and Hu Jintao really couldn’t resist,” a retired party official said.

Sources close to the leadership,speaking on condition of anonymity,said three young people were in the car at the time of the crash,including the ally’s son,in his 20s. At least one of the trio died in the crash,they added.

The South China Morning Post said the son had died and added the son’s death certificate had been changed to disguise his identity. A second source with ties to China’s leadership said the son had not died.

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