China’s former justice minister Fu Zhenghua has been sentenced to death for accepting bribes, state media reported on Thursday. In the past, the politician was responsible for several important anti-corruption investigations.
Execution was suspended for two years, after which the sentence could be converted into life imprisonment without parole, the Reuters news agency said.
Fu Zhenghua became the minister of justice in 2018. Before that, he was deputy minister of public safety and has led many important anti-corruption investigations, including an investigation against Zhou Yongkang, who was previously in charge of the ministry, the highest-ranking Chinese official convicted of corruption to date, Reuters reported.
During the trial in the north China in the city of Changchun, Fu pleaded guilty to accepting bribes worth over 117 million yuan (over PLN 80 million). In return for the received money and real estate, the convicted person was to protect the criminal activities of his brother and other people.
Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign
The former minister thus joins the ranks of senior officials punished as part of the anti-corruption campaign led by Chinese leader Xi Jinping since his assumption of power in 2012. According to critics, Xi is thus getting rid of political opponents and strengthening his power over the party apparatus.
The purges among officials intensified ahead of the key five-year congress of the Communist Party of China (CCP) scheduled for October, Reuters said.
Fu was also accused of being a member of the Sun Lijun “political gang”, another high-ranking official in the state security apparatus accused of bribery and disloyalty to Xi. The CCP described the influence of this party official as “poisonous” and the Sun himself as a “cancer” that should be eliminated, the agency added.
Main photo source: Fuat Kabakci / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images