March 31, 2023

This photo taken on May 6, 2014 shows China's then Vice Minister of Public Security Fu Zhenghua (C) gives a speech at a Beijing railway station.
This photo taken on May 6, 2014 shows China’s then Vice Minister of Public Security Fu Zhenghua (C) gives a speech at a Beijing railway station.

China’s former justice minister faces life in prison after a court on Thursday granted him a suspended death sentence for taking bribes and “bending the law”.

The Changchun City Intermediate People’s Court said in a statement that Fu Zhenghua’s death sentence would be commuted to life imprisonment after two years of retrial.

The high-profile sentence – part of a sweeping anti-corruption campaign – comes just three weeks before a key political meeting where President Xi Jinping is expected to secure an unprecedented third term.

The court said Fu, a former politician, abused his power while holding a senior position from 2005 to 2021.

“(He) should be deprived of political rights for life and all personal property confiscated,” it added.

Fu, 67, accepted bribes worth 117 million yuan ($16.5 million), the court said.

Between 2014 and 2015, when Fu was head of the Beijing Public Security Bureau, the court said he concealed evidence of suspected crimes committed by his brother Fu Weihua and failed to prosecute the case according to law.

During his tenure as Beijing’s top cop, Fu is believed to have led the corruption investigation of Gu Yongkang, the former security chief who was jailed in 2015 in the most high-profile case of the anti-corruption crackdown.

Fu was a member of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission and Minister of Justice before entering semi-retirement in May 2020.

He was serving as deputy director of the Social and Legal Affairs Committee of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) — a largely formal advisory body — when anti-corruption authorities began investigating his dealings last October. .

More than a million officials have been punished under the anti-corruption crackdown, which critics say has served as a way to remove Xi’s political enemies since he came to power in 2013.

The Chinese leader accelerated the anti-corruption campaign in the run-up to the party congress in mid-October.

Three former police chiefs were sentenced on Wednesday for corruption.

Gong Daon, former police chief of Shanghai; Deng Huilin, former police chief of Chongqing; And Liu Xinyun, the former police chief of coal-rich Shaanxi province, was sentenced in a separate court in Hebei province.

Gong, a former deputy mayor and director of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, was sentenced to life in prison for accepting bribes worth 73.43 million yuan ($10.4 million), state broadcaster CCTV reported.

Deng, a former director of the Chongqing Public Security Bureau, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for taking 42.67 million yuan ($6 million) in bribes, CCTV said.

Liu, Shanxi’s former top policeman, was jailed for 14 years for accepting bribes worth 13.33 million yuan ($1.9 million), CCTV said.

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