Ling Jihua, once political advisor to former Chinese president Hu Jintao, is to face trial in Tianjin for obtaining state secrets, corruption, as well as abuse of power, state newswire Xinhua reported on Friday.

Ling was the head of the Communist Party Central Committee’s United Front Work Department until December 2014, when he was removed from his post. He was also the vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Last July, he was expelled from the Communist Party and arrested on the same day.

Ling Jihua.

Ling’s downfall began three years ago after his only son was killed in a scandalous car crash. Ling Gu crashed his Ferrari under a bridge in downtown Beijing with two half-naked women in the vehicle in the early hours of March 18, 2012.

Fall from grace

Before the incident, Ling enjoyed a promising political career and was director of the General Office of the Communist Party’s Central Committee. The committee provides administrative support to the party’s most senior leaders. Retired premier Wen Jiabao held the same position in the 1980s.

Ling’s brother, Ling Zhengce, was also placed under investigation for corruption in 2014 and was expelled from the party in August, 2015.

Ling’s other brother Ling Wancheng is currently in the United States, having left the country following investigations into Ling Jihua and Ling Zhengce.

President Xi Jinping has placed a high emphasis on stamping out corruption after becoming the Chinese President in 2012 though some analysts believe the crackdown is a means to solidify his control of the party.

Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.