Former Party Boss in China’s Chongqing City Jailed for Life for Graft

May 8, 2018 Updated: May 8, 2018    

BEIJING—A Chinese court has sentenced Sun Zhengcai, the former Communist Party boss of the southwestern city of Chongqing, to life in prison for corruption, state media said on May 8.

Sun is the latest former senior official taken down in Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s war on graft. He admitted in April during an intermediate court session in Tianjin City that he had taken bribes of more than 170 million yuan ($27 million).

“After the judgment was announced, Sun Zhengcai told the court he admitted his guilt, expressed repentance, accepted the decision, and said he would not appeal,” according to Chinese state-run media Xinhua, citing the Tianjin court.

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

Sun, 54, was abruptly removed in July from his post as party chief of Chongqing, one of China’s most important cities. He was replaced by Chen Min’er, who is close to Xi.

Until then, Sun, one of the youngest of the 25 members of the Party’s decision-making Politburo, had been considered a contender for top leadership.

Prosecutors charged Sun in February with accepting “huge sums” in bribes while serving government posts going back 15 years in Chongqing, Beijing, the northeastern province of Jilin, and during his term as minister of agriculture.

He was certain to be found guilty because China’s courts are controlled by the Party and will not challenge its accusations.

Xi has presided over a sweeping corruption crackdown since coming to power in 2012, vowing to target both “tigers” and “flies” in a reference to elite officials and ordinary bureaucrats.

The campaign has led to the jailing or punishment of thousands of officials and also brought down dozens of senior party and military officials.

The anti-corruption effort has not just been focused on issues like bribery and using public money to fund lavish lifestyles. It has also taken aim at officials who belong to an opposition faction loyal to former Party leader Jiang Zemin.

Last October, during a major Party conclave, Sun was named along with several other key Jiang faction members, such as Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai, and Ling Jihua, as co-conspirators “in a plot to usurp the Party leadership and seize power.”

By Michael Martina. Epoch Times staff member Annie Wu contributed to this report.