Former senior Chinese official given life sentence

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In April he confessed to an intermediate court in the city of Tianjin that he had taken bribes of more than 170 million yuan (€22 million).

Sun is the latest former senior official taken down in President Xi Jinping's ongoing war on corruption. Sun Zhengcai was once tipped as a possible leader of the generation to succeed President Xi Jinping.

Sun had been accused of taking advantage of his position to seek profits for others and illegally accepting money, according to previous court statements.

Sun was given a "lenient" sentence in exchange for his cooperation, the court in the northern port city of Tianjin said on Tuesday.

"I sincerely admit my guilt and regret my crime.

I accept the court's verdict and will not appeal", the 54 year old leader said in court, China Central Television reported.

In July 2017, Sun was abruptly removed from his post as the party secretary of the inland city of Chongqing, and replaced by a Xi protégé.

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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.

Sun had been expelled from the party and dismissed from public office in September because he was suspected of "serious discipline violations", a phrase that usually refers to bribery but increasingly also includes political disloyalty.

During the conference, Sun, and a former party boss in Chongqing, Bo Xilai, were accused of being part of a plot to usurp the power of the Communist Party.

During last year's National Congress, Xi vowed to continue his anti-corruption campaign, claiming "he fight against corruption has formed an overwhelming posture and strengthened in development".

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

However, critics have claimed Xi has used the crusade as a way to sideline political opponents and consolidate his power over the country. It has punished more than 1.5 million corrupt officials over the past five years, and helped Xi exert tighter control over the party.

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