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09 May 2018, 12:41 | Floyd Cook
Quick Take: Former Rising Political Star Sun Zhengcai Gets Life in Prison
A former top Chinese Communist Party official, who was accused of plotting a coup against President Xi Jinping past year, was today sentenced to life imprisonment for taking United States dollars 26.7 million in bribes.
Sun was accused of taking 170 million yuan ($27 million) in bribes from 2002 to 2017, when he held several government posts, including Minister of Agriculture and party secretary of Chongqing, China Central Television reported Tuesday, citing the Tianjin No. 1 Intermediate People's Court.
Sun had previously pleaded guilty to accepting bribes at his trial on 12 April.
The court said the defendant had been given a "lenient" sentence in light of his willingness to cooperate with the investigation.
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. 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.
"I sincerely confess to and regret the crimes I committed".
In July, Sun was abruptly removed from his post as the ruling Communist Party's chief of the southwestern city of Chongqing and was replaced by Chen Miner, a protege of current President Xi Jinping. A probe led to his abrupt fall ahead of the party's National Congress a year ago.
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 is the latest former senior official taken down in President Xi Jinping's war on graft. Since took power a little over five years ago, more than one million Chinese officials have been investigated and punished for corruption. Despite the fact that the campaign has been effective in prosecuting officials, some critics perceived this major ant-corruption crackdown as the president's way of eliminating his political rivals.
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