Former aide to Chinese president Hu Jintao given life sentence

Ling Jihua, then vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), at a meeting in Beijing, on March 11, 2013.
Ling Jihua, then vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), at a meeting in Beijing, on March 11, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING - China has sentenced former presidential aide Ling Jihua to life imprisonment after one of the highest ranking officials to be caught under the country’s sweeping anti-corruption campaign confessed to corruption.

He was jailed for taking bribes, illegally obtaining state secrets and abuse of power, state news agency Xinhua announced on Monday (July 4).

Citing a ruling by the First Intermediate People’s Court of Tianjin, which held a closed-door trial on June 7, the report said Ling accepted bribes totalling over 77 million yuan (S$15 million) personally and through his family.

“Ling Jihua took an extremely large amount of bribes,” according to Xinhua’s report. “He obtained a large number of state secrets, and the crimes were very serious. He abused his power, and caused a terrible impact upon society.”

One of the “tigers” or political heavyweights ensnared by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, Ling was the head of the Communist Party’s General Office of the Central Committee.

Ling, 59, who had served under former president Hu Jintao, pleaded guilty and decided not to appeal, Xinhua said.

“Today’s trial will be engraved in my memory,” he said in his final statement in court. He also thanked the court, the prosecution and the lawyers involved in his trial.

chengwee@sph.com.sg