Guangzhou's former party boss gets life term for corruption

BEIJING • A Chinese court yesterday jailed the former Communist Party boss of the southern city of Guangzhou for life after finding him guilty of corruption.

Wan Qingliang, the latest official to fall in President Xi Jinping's sweeping war on graft, was put under party investigation in 2014 before being handed over to the legal authorities for prosecution.

The Nanning city court said on its official microblog that Wan had taken more than 100 million yuan (S$20 million) in bribes and gifts as well as from extortion in exchange for help with promotions and project approvals.

The court also ordered that all of his assets be seized.

Wan admitted his guilt and handed over evidence not discovered earlier in the probe, resulting in a lighter sentence, the court said.

While the court did not give an explanation, he could have received the death penalty for such serious crimes.

It was not possible to reach any of Wan's family members or legal representatives for comment.

Courts are controlled by the party and do not challenge party accusations, especially in corruption cases, meaning there had never been any doubt that he would be found guilty.

The court said Wan's crimes dated back to 2000, during which time he abused his position as head of the Communist Party Youth League in the southern province of Guangdong, where Guangzhou is located, as well as other subsequent provincial positions.

Guangdong is one of China's export hubs, and Guangzhou is the provincial capital. As party boss, Wan was the city's most senior official, outranking the mayor.

Separately, a court in the eastern Chinese city of Ningbo said it had jailed Wang Min, the former party boss of the northern city of Jinan, for 12 years for taking bribes.

It was also not possible to reach Wang's relatives or legal representatives for comment. Jinan is the capital of Shandong province.

China is in the midst of a sweeping campaign against deep-rooted corruption launched by Mr Xi after he assumed power almost four years ago, warning that the problem was so serious it threatened the party's survival.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2016, with the headline 'Guangzhou's former party boss gets life term for corruption'. Print Edition | Subscribe