China jails former senior official for life for corruption

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China has sentenced a former provincial deputy governor to life in prison for accepting almost US$2 million ($2.47 million) in bribes, the most senior official to be punished since the country's new leadership made tackling corruption its top priority.

Huang Sheng, former deputy governor of the eastern province of Shandong, accepted more than 12 million yuan (S$2.4 million) from organisations and individuals between 1998 and 2011, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

In addition to the jail sentence, Huang's assets were confiscated. Xinhua said.

President Xi Jinping, who took over in March in a once-a-decade leadership transition, has called for a crackdown on corruption, warning that the problem is so severe it could threaten the party's survival.

So far, a few high-ranking officials have been caught in the crackdown, including Sichuan province deputy Communist Party boss Li Chuncheng and, reportedly, Politburo member Li Jianguo, both for "serious" disciplinary issues.

A former railways minister, Liu Zhijun, was charged in April with corruption and abuse of power.

State media said on Friday a district Communist Party official in the southwestern city of Chongqing would be charged with corruption after images of him having sex with his mistress were splashed across microblog websites last year.

Party officials are banned from having mistresses.

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