Former China rail minister given suspended death sentence

China Featured Politics - July 9th, 2013

China’s former railways minister has been handed a suspended death sentence for corruption and abuse of power.

Liu Zhijun was accused of accepting bribes totaling more than 64 million yuan ($10 million) over 25 years in return for contracts with the once-powerful Railway Ministry.

A Beijing court convicted Liu on Monday for “bribery and abuse of power” and sentenced him to death with a two-year reprieve, deprived him of his political rights for life and jailed him for 10 years, Xinhua news agency quoted from the verdict.

The sentence typically amounts to life imprisonment in China, according to Reuters.

Prosecutors said Liu’s “malpractice” led to “huge losses of public assets and damage to the interest of the state and people”.

Liu is the highest-ranking official sentenced since President Xi Jinping took office, although the case predates his administration.

Xi has pledged to crack down on rampant corruption among the Communist Party’s low-ranking “flies” as well as powerful “tigers”.

In a raft of measures aimed at boosting government efficiency and tackling corruption, the scandal-ridden railways ministry was dissolved in March.