Former top Chinese official jailed for life

08/05 06:28Chinese Court Sentences Ex-Top Communist Official to Life Term for Graft - Media

Quick Take: Former Rising Political Star Sun Zhengcai Gets Life in Prison

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

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.

Another key rival of Mr Xi, Bo Xilai, who like Mr Sun was also party secretary in Chongqing, was sentenced to life in prison for corruption in 2013.

Sun had sat on China's powerful Politburo and was the party boss of the wealthy inland province of Chongqing, before being accused of taking 170 million Chinese yuan ($35 million) in bribes and trading power for sex. Sun was sent to Chongqing to fill the void left by Bo, but he failed to wipe out his predecessor's "lingering pernicious influence", Communist Party of China investigators determined.

After the guilty verdict was read out at the First Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin on Tuesday morning, the once up-and-coming political star said that he had confessed to his crimes, regretted his criminal wrongdoings and would not be pursuing an appeal.

When he was arrested, Sun, born in 1963, was the youngest member of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China's (CPC) Politburo, which ran between 2012 and 2017.

Bo, who was at the time considered a potential future leader, is now serving a life sentence in prison for corruption and abuse of power, charges that Sun is also facing.

Sun, 54, is the latest senior cadre to fall in President Xi Jinping's sweeping anti-corruption campaign. In February, the Communist Party announced plans to amend China's constitution to remove term limits for the president, leading many to conclude that Xi intends to rule for life.

Xi would have had to give up the presidency after the end of his second term in 2023, but last year's decision Xi can now have a lifetime to push his vision of a rejuvenated China as a global powerhouse with a "world-class" military.

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