China jails ruling party member for life over graft

by Fredrick Graves May 9, 2018, 5:14
China jails ruling party member for life over graft

The former Communist Party boss had admitted in April to an intermediate court in the city of Tianjin that he had taken bribes of more than 170 million yuan ($27 million).

He was also the most senior serving politician snared by Chinese President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign in 2017.

Many China politics experts and some party insiders attribute Mr. Sun's downfall to his reputation as a possible next-generation leader whose ties were to senior party figures other than Mr. Xi.

The court heard that between 2002 and a year ago, Sun had taken advantage of his position to seek profits for others and illegally accepted money, according to previous court statements.

Sun Zhengcai, a former top Chinese Communist Party official once considered a potential successor to President Xi Jinping, has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of taking bribes.

Sun had been accused of taking advantage of his position to seek profits for others and illegally accepting money and property during several positions held by him including as Minister for Agriculture, according to previous court statements.

"I sincerely admit my guilt and regret my crime".

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Sun, 54, was the youngest member of the ruling communist party's 25-member politburo and was a rising star in the party.

At trial he pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to life in prison, deprived of political rights for life and had the proceeds from his illegal conduct confiscated.

Xi has presided over a popular anti-graft drive since coming to power in 2012 that has punished more than 1 million officials.

Sun was sacked as Chongqing's party boss in July and placed under investigation for corruption in the run-up to the party's national leadership reshuffle in October.

The National People's Congress recently expanded the campaign by creating a national supervision commission that will look beyond party officials and scrutinise millions of public servants at all levels of government.

China's parliament also removed the two-term limit for the president paving the way for Xi to continue in power for life.

Critics have compared it to a political purge.

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