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.
"I sincerely admit my guilt and regret my crime.
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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 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.