China jails ex-politburo member for corruption

The former Communist Party Secretary was convicted of illegally accepting more than 170 million yuan (US $ 26.7 million) in bribes, according to the First Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin.

Mr Sun (54), who was also seen as a rival of President Xi Jinping, is the latest former senior cadre taken down in Mr Xi's war on corruption. But Sun's investigation was seen as part of a more far-reaching goal-his fall just months before a key leadership meeting was seen as one of the strongest signals yet in support of rumors that Xi was planning on ruling beyond the conventional 10 years.

Sun and his alleged associates were accused of accepting the money and assets in return for providing help to unspecified organisations and individuals, business operations and other matters, the court said.

The court on Tuesday said Sun should have been a role model, but instead ignored the law and destroyed normal order in duties at the government organizations.

A court in China's Tianjin port city has given a life sentence to Sun Zhengcai, a former member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, for corruption.

"I sincerely admit my guilt and regret my crime".

Mr Sun was replaced in Chongqing by Chen Min'er, a former aide and protégé of Mr Xi who was elevated to the 25-member Politburo at the national party congress in October.

At trial he pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to life in prison, deprived of political rights for life and had the proceeds from his illegal conduct confiscated.

Since taking power in 2012, Xi has promoted a massive campaign as a way to stamp out corruption throughout China.

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.

A high profile anti-corruption campaign launched by Xi which began five years ago, has led to the downfall of a number of high-level officials.

However, critics have claimed Xi has used the crusade as a way to sideline political opponents and consolidate his power over the country.

  • Joe Gonzales