China's official Xinhua News Agency says the country's former security chief, Zhou Yongkang, has been expelled from the Communist Party.

In July, the party announced it was investigating Zhou, one of nine leaders in the party's ruling inner circle until his retirement in 2012, for serious violations of party discipline.

In a brief bulletin published shortly after midnight Saturday, Xinhua said the decision was made Friday at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the party's Central Committee.

The meeting also decided to transfer his "suspected criminal case ... and relevant clues to judicial organs for handling according to the law," the report said.