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China: Former Communist leader Sun Zhengcai handed life term for taking bribes

China: Former Communist leader Sun Zhengcai handed life term for taking bribes

China: Former Communist leader Sun Zhengcai handed life term for taking bribes

The First Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin convicted Sun Zhengcai of taking more than 170 million yuan ($27m) in bribes directly or through third parties.

Prosecutors also accused Sun of taking advantage of his position to seek profits for others in project bidding, project approval, enterprise operation and personnel promotion.

Sun had previously pleaded guilty to accepting bribes at his trial on 12 April. "I accept the court's verdict and will not appeal", the 54 year old leader said in court, China Central Television reported.

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

Regardless, Xi has emerged as one of China's most powerful leaders in decades, commanding authority over important decision-making bodies for China's politics, economics, and military.

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.

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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.

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". Since took power a little over five years ago, more than one million Chinese officials have been investigated and punished for corruption.

Xi in March saw through a constitutional amendment removing term limits on the presidency, setting himself up to remain head of state indefinitely.

The party rejects criticism that the anti-corruption campaign is about silencing political opponents and weeding out rivals as much as it is about stamping out graft.

The move reversed the era of "collective" leadership and orderly succession that was promoted by late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping to ensure stability following the turbulent one-man rule of Communist China's founder Mao Zedong.

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