China: ex-security chief sentenced to life

China's ex-security minister Zhou Yongkang was found guilty June 11 of bribery, abuse of power and disclosing state secrets, and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was also stripped of his political rights for life and has had his assets confiscated. A year after Zhou's retirement in 2012, he was put under investigation as part of President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign. In a trail that was largely kept secret, Zhou was found to have accepted bribes of about 130 million yuan ($21.3 million) in return for leaking five highly confidential documents. Senior officials convicted of serious crimes within China are typically sentenced to death. This was apparently waived due to Zhou's cooperation in returning all monies.

The Chinese government has worked in recent years to reform its judicial system and combat corruption. In March officials announced that efforts against corruption have led to the investigation and conviction of 14 generals for corrupt financial practices. In February Chinese officials announced the impending prosecution of Su Rong, former vice chairman of China's top parliamentary advisory board, for graft. Last July, Chongqing's former Communist Party leader Bo Xilai was formally charged with corruption, embezzlement and abuse of power. In March 2012 the President and Chief Justice of the Supreme People's Court (SPC) told the National People's Congress (NPC) that the country must continue to implement legal reform to combat corruption and foster social and economic growth.

From Jurist, June 12. Used with permission.