China sentences former political rising star to life in prison for corruption

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Sun Zhengcai, former member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China and former Secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Committee, was sentenced[press release] to life in prison on Tuesday for taking bribes.

Sun as saying he wouldn't appeal the sentence. It was a sign that Xi "doesn't feel bound by the order of promotion set by the previous generation of leaders", a Beijing-based party watcher told the New York Times (paywall) at the time.

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

Sun was replaced in Chongqing by Chen Miner, a protégé of President Xi Jinping and a rising political star.

Announcing the verdict, the court also deprived him of his political rights for life and all his personal property was confiscated. He also said he would earnestly reform himself.

He and his alleged associates were charged with accepting the bribes in return for providing help to unspecified organisations and individuals with engineering contracts, business operations and other matters.

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He pleaded guilty to the charges and expressed repentance, according to Tianjin's No. 1 Intermediate People's Court, which imposed his sentence less than one month after the trial opened in a relatively swift resolution of the case.

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. China has confirmed that Sun has been appointed Communist Party boss for the southwestern city of Chongqing.

Over a million officials of various ranks have been punished in Xi's anti-graft campaign since he came to power in 2013.

Notably, while Sun was sentenced to life in prison for corruption, the Party appears to have found him guilty of a more serious offense - challenging Xi's unquestionable authority.

When Sun became Chongqing's chief in 2012, he was tasked with erasing Bo's influence on the city.

Sun Zhengcai, then party chief of Jilin province attends a meeting held on the sidelines of the 18th National Congress of the CPC, in Beijing, November 9, 2012.

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