Former Chinese spymaster jailed for life over graft

BEIJING • Former China spymaster Ma Jian has been jailed for life over corruption, a court in north-eastern China announced yesterday.

"Ma Jian's behaviour constituted the crimes of accepting bribes, forcing others to trade and insider trading," the Dalian Intermediate People's Court in Liaoning province announced in a statement.

Ma, a former deputy head of China's Ministry of State Security, had been put under investigation for corruption in 2015 and expelled from the Communist Party the following year.

He pleaded guilty and has decided not to appeal, the court said, adding that his political rights have been revoked for life and all his personal assets confiscated.

Ma's fall from grace was precipitated by a sweeping investigation into other figures in China's security apparatus, most notably Zhou Yongkang, who was responsible for the security ministry and Ma's boss in 2012.

The Ministry of State Security is often described as China's equivalent of the Soviet Union's much-feared KGB and is said to be responsible for intelligence gathering and surveillance.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2018, with the headline 'Former Chinese spymaster jailed for life over graft'. Print Edition | Subscribe