Wed, May 09, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Ex-CCP official gets life for bribery

AFP, BEIJING

Then-Chinese Communist Party for Chongqing secretary Sun Zhengcai attends the opening of the fifth session of the 12th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 3 last year.

Photo: EPA

A former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official who was once tipped as a potential successor to Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) was yesterday sentenced to life in prison for bribery, the latest senior cadre to fall in Xi’s sweeping anti-corruption crusade.

Sun Zhengcai (孫政才), a former politburo member and party chief of the southwestern megacity of Chongqing, was found guilty of taking more than 170 million yuan (US$26.7 million) in bribes, the First Intermediate People’s Court of Tianjin said in a statement on its Web site.

Sun, 54, had once been tipped for promotion to the Politburo’s elite seven-member standing committee, which rules the nation and is presided over by Xi.

As the youngest politburo member, Sun was even seen in some quarters as a potential successor to Xi.

The court said the defendant had been given a “lenient” sentence in light of his willingness to cooperate with the investigation.

In addition to his prison term, Sun’s “stolen property has already all been confiscated,” the statement said.

A photograph posted on the court’s Web site showed the former leader in the dock, head deeply bowed as two police officers looked on.

Sun expressed “sincere repentance,” according to the court.

He said he accepted the sentence and would not appeal.

Sun had been accused of taking advantage of his position to seek profits for others and illegally accepting money, according to previous court statements.

He and his alleged associates were charged with accepting the bribes in return for providing help to unspecified organizations and individuals with engineering contracts, business operations and other matters.

His actions had “gravely damaged the normal work order of national organizations and harmed the integrity of conduct by national employees,” the statement said.

He pleaded guilty to the charges during a one-day trial last month.

Sun was the first serving member of the 25-member politburo to be placed under investigation since Bo Xilai (薄熙來), another former leader of Chongqing, who was jailed for life in 2013.

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

Critics have compared it to a political purge.

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