China vice mayor jailed for abuse of power: Report

SHANGHAI (AFP) - A former vice mayor of China's eastern city of Wenzhou was on Friday sentenced to three years in jail for abuse of power in a land deal, state media reported.

A court jailed Ye Jiren after he allotted a plot of land in Wenzhou to a private company against government rules for its use, the official Xinhua news agency said, quoting the court.

Wenzhou is known as a centre for private companies in China.

The move caused a direct economic loss of 116 million yuan (S$24 million) for the government, the report said, but gave no further details.

Authorities detained Ye in 2011 and gave the case to prosecutors last year, Xinhua said. The court could not be immediately reached for comment.

Chinese president Xi Jinping has vowed to crack down on corruption at all levels of the government, calling graft a threat to the future of the ruling Communist Party.

But critics say a significant effort to reduce corruption would require increased transparency from the ultra-secretive party, as well as a loosening of controls on the media and courts.

Last month, Chinese authorities charged Bo Xilai, former party chief of the southwestern city of Chongqing, with bribery and abuse of power. He is expected to go on trial soon.

Bo's wife was handed a suspended death sentence - typically commuted to a life sentence in China - last year for fatally poisoning British businessman Neil Heywood.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.