press trust of india
Beijing, 8 July
Liu Zhijun, one of China’s longest- serving former railways ministers, was today given a suspended death sentence by a court here for corruption and abuse of power which inflicted “colossal losses” to the government.
The stiff sentence against Liu comes in the wake of promise by China’s new leadership headed by President Xi Jinping to crackdown hard on corruption which he said threatened the over 60-year-old hold of the ruling Communist Party on the world’s most populous nation.
The Beijing No 2 Intermediate People’s Court, which is conducting the trial, announced the stiff verdict handing down death sentence to 60-year-old Liu, state-run Xinhua news agency reported quoting verdict.
He was accused of accepting bribes to the tune of US$ 10.53 million over 25 years.
“The combined punishment for Liu’s crimes is death penalty with a two-year reprieve, deprival of political rights for life, and confiscation of all personal property,” the court said.
A death sentence suspended for two years is normally commuted to a life sentence after two years of good behaviour.
Liu was also sentenced to 10 years in jail for abuse of power, according to the court verdict. He headed the railways from 2003 to 2011, during whose tenure China had embarked on the high speed network linking different parts of the country.
His suspended death sentence would come up for judicial review after two years.
A number of middle rung leaders and officials got similar punishments for corruption as well as sexual misconduct.
The court held that Liu’s crime of bribery involves especially huge amount of money with especially serious circumstances, and his crime of abuse of power had caused colossal losses in the public assets, violating rights and interests of the state and the people.