28Chinese Court Sentences Ex-Top Communist Official to Life Term for Graft

28Chinese Court Sentences Ex-Top Communist Official to Life Term for Graft

28Chinese Court Sentences Ex-Top Communist Official to Life Term for Graft

Sun's sentence, handed down by the intermediate court in the northern port city of Tianjin, appears to end a career that had once been seen as propelling him to the apex of power in the ruling Communist Party.

He has been deprived of political rights for life and all his personal property will be confiscated, according to the verdict.

Until then, Sun, one of the youngest of the 25 members of the Party's decision-making Politburo, had been considered a contender for top leadership.

Sun was a member of the Communist Party's Politburo until a year ago, when he was removed from office.

A former rising political star in China, Sun Zhengcai, 54, has been jailed for life for accepting bribes, avoiding the death sentence by cooperating with investigators.

Other high-profile figures to fall in Xi's campaign include, Zhou Yongkang, a retired member of the party's all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, and Guo Boxiong, a former top general.

Sun could have faced more severe punishment, given the scope of his alleged irregularities, but instead was given leniency because he has shown remorse, the Tianjin court said.

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However, additional information that he told the investigation about his crimes and the fact that bribes were accepted by "designated parties" commuted the sentence.

Prosecutors also accused Sun of taking advantage of his position to seek profits for others in project bidding, project approval, enterprise operation and personnel promotion.

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

Previously big-name corrupt officials would have been retired or eased out of office, but Mr Xi has taken a more aggressive approach.

As the country's fourth-largest city and an industrial metropolis in its south-west, Chongqing is a major post for ambitious politicians.

The case mirrors the downfall of another former Chongqing chief, Bo Xilai, whose arrest jolted the previous party shuffle in 2012.

It has not been possible to reach Sun for comment, and it is unclear whether he has a lawyer.

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