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Top Chinese Security Official Heading 'Political Clique' Against Xi Sentenced to Death with 2-year Reprieve

PTI

Last Updated: September 23, 2022, 21:16 IST

Beijing

On Thursday, the same court sentenced two senior Chinese security officials, including a powerful former justice minister, to death with a two-year reprieve. (Image: Reuters)

On Thursday, the same court sentenced two senior Chinese security officials, including a powerful former justice minister, to death with a two-year reprieve. (Image: Reuters)

Sun Lijun who was accused of heading a political clique opposed to Xi was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for taking bribes, manipulating the stock market and illegally possessing firearms

Another top Chinese security official was on Friday sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve by a court for corruption, a day after two senior officials were punished for graft and abuse of power amid reports of a purge of a political clique that opposed President Xi Jinping getting a record third term in office at next month’s ruling Communist Party Congress.

Sun Lijun, former vice minister of public security, who was accused of heading a political clique opposed to Xi was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for taking bribes, manipulating the stock market and illegally possessing firearms.

Sun was also deprived of his political rights for life, and all his personal assets were confiscated, the Intermediate People’s Court of Changchun in northeast China’s Jilin Province said. Sun, 53, was accused of leading a political clique and being disloyal to Xi, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

Sun’s sentencing came after five former police chiefs who were implicated in his corruption case were jailed earlier this week, indicating that the biggest purge in China’s security apparatus over the last five years is drawing to a close, the report said. The purge comes ahead of a major leadership reshuffle at the Communist Party Congress that begins on October 16, where Xi, who is completing his 10-year tenure later this year, is expected to endorse a record third five-year term for him. All his predecessors retired after 10-year tenures.

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On Thursday, the same court sentenced two senior Chinese security officials, including a powerful former justice minister, to death with a two-year reprieve. Fu Zhenghua, former Justice Minister and one of China’s most powerful police chiefs was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for indulging in corruption amounting to USD 17.3 million and abuse of power.

Hours later, the same court gave a similar sentence to former Jiangsu official Wang Like. He was also sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for bribery, conniving with criminal gangs and faking identity cards, official media here reported. Wang is a former member of the Jiangsu Provincial Committee Communist Party of China (CPC) and former secretary of the CPC Jiangsu Provincial Committee politics and law committee, state-run People’s Daily online reported.

On Friday court said it was established that Sun received money and valuables totalling more than USD 92.39 million by taking advantage of various positions he held between 2001 and April 2020. The court also said Sun manipulated stock trading in the first half of 2018 and illegally possessed two guns.

The court said that Sun was granted a lenient sentence, considering that he had provided investigators with clues to other major cases, contributing to a major meritorious service for the investigation, and had confessed to all of his crimes, including some acts of bribe-taking that investigators were not initially aware of. He had shown repentance and had been cooperative in returning his illegal gains, the court added.

After the two-year reprieve for his death sentence, Sun’s sentence can be commuted to life in prison in accordance with the law, but no further reduction or parole shall be given to him, the court said. The anti-corruption campaign started by Xi, 69, after he came to power in 2012 sent shock-waves across China as over a million officials, including dozens of top military officers, were punished.

If endorsed for a third term, he will be the first CPC leader after founder Mao Zedong to continue in power beyond two terms and perhaps for life.

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first published:September 23, 2022, 21:16 IST
last updated:September 23, 2022, 21:16 IST