Ex-CCP official gets life for bribery

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

"I will seriously reform myself", Sun was seen telling the First Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin on national broadcaster CCTV as he bowed.

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

Sun had been expelled from the party and dismissed from public office in September because he was suspected of "serious discipline violations", a phrase that usually refers to bribery but increasingly also includes political disloyalty.

At one point, Sun was tipped to be elevated to the powerful politburo standing committee of seven people and helmed by Xi.

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Sun said he would not appeal the sentence.

At a party meeting previous year, a senior official stated that Sun and other senior figures prosecuted in Xi's anti-corruption crackdown were "conspiring openly to usurp party leadership".

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.

After Sun was detained last July, the path was clear for Xi to promote loyal ally Chen Min'er in Chongqing.

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Xi (64) has waged a relentless fight against deep-rooted corruption since assuming power five years ago, with more than a million officials punished and dozens of former senior officials jailed. Sun was seen by some as a candidate for leading the party in 2022.

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.

Chinese news outlet Caixin had reported that Sun's "designated parties" included two businesswomen.

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".

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"Charging with corruption allows all the convenience of not releasing sensitive data while permitting the party to destroy (Sun's) reputation", he said.

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