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China: Former political star Sun Zhengcai sentenced to life

China’s ex-political high-flyer & fallen Politburo star gets life sentence 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.

Beijing, May 8 A former top Chinese Communist Party official, who was accused of plotting a coup against President Xi Jinping past year, was today sentenced to life imprisonment for taking United States dollars 26.7 million in bribes.

Sun pleaded guilty at an open court hearing held on April 12th. Sun Zhengcai was once tipped as a possible leader of the generation to succeed President Xi Jinping.

South China Morning Post said the amount of bribes involved was punishable by death but the court said it took mitigating factors into account, including that most of the bribes were taken by "designated parties" and that Sun gave investigators additional, previously unknown information about his crimes.

Sun said he admits his crimes and is sincerely repentant.

Sun Zhengcai, the former Communist Party boss of the southwestern city of Chongqing, has been sentenced to life in prison by a court in China over graft.

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In September, the party's internal discipline watchdog formally expelled Sun from the party, saying (link in Chinese) he had become "highly bureaucratic, lazy and ineffective, led a degenerate and corrupt lifestyle, engaged in money-for-sex transactions". He was also deprived of his political rights for life. In 2012, he was sent to Chongqing to replace Bo Xilai, another top official who fell foul of Xi's anti-corruption crusade.

Sun was sacked as Chongqing's party boss in July and placed under investigation for corruption in the run-up to the party's national leadership reshuffle in October.

In March, China's parliament scrapped presidential term limits, paving the way for President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely over the world's most populous country.

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.

Xi's critics allege that he has used the campaign against his political rivals.

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