China hands ex-political high-flyer life sentence for graft

China hands ex-political high-flyer life sentence for graft

China hands ex-political high-flyer life sentence for graft

Sun Zhengcai, once a rising political star in China, was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday for bribery, at a court in the northern port city of Tianjin.

Reuters has not been able to reach Sun or a representative for comment since he was put under investigation past year.

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

His wealth was confiscated and his political rights were stripped for the rest of his life, according to the verdict.

He was replaced in Chongqing by Xi protege Chen Min'er, who was subsequently promoted to the Politburo.

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One of the most powerful men in all of China presently, Jinping rose to fame due to his anti-corruption stance. In October, the participants of the plenary session of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China approved the decision. During the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, where the president was granted a second term, Liu Shiyu, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, described Sun and other political criminals as "figures in important and high places who were both corrupted and contrived to usurp the leadership of the party and seize power".

Sun had been identified most closely with the party's China Youth League faction associated with Xi's predecessor, Hu Jintao, which Xi — who also heads the ruling party — has effectively sidelined in his consolidation of power.

Sun's case is interesting because it seems to signal that any challengers can be charged with a political crime.

The Chinese president said in April, though, that he is opposed to life-long rule, arguing that the move to amend the constitution was definitely misinterpreted by foreign observers.

At the time of his removal, Mr. Sun was the youngest member of the Politburo and ran the inland megacity of Chongqing, and Mr. Xi was preparing for a Communist Party congress in the fall that would help him consolidate power and promote allies to senior posts.

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