China’s former vice-minister of police sentenced to life for accepting $91mn in bribes

Updated on Sep 23, 2022 04:58 PM IST

Sun Lijun had overseen the crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in 2017 and was also part of the team of officials initially dispatched to the central Chinese city of Wuhan to supervise the containment of the Covid-19 virus in early 2020

Sun Lijun, former vice-minister of public security, attends a court sentencing in Changchun in northeastern China’s Jilin province on Friday. (AP)
Sun Lijun, former vice-minister of public security, attends a court sentencing in Changchun in northeastern China’s Jilin province on Friday. (AP)

BEIJING: A former Chinese deputy public security minister condemned earlier for damaging the ruling Communist party’s unity, taking large bribes and “deserting” his post during China’s initial fight against Covid-19, has been jailed for life, a provincial court announced on Friday.

Sun Lijun, 53, was handed a suspended death sentence that will be commuted to a life in prison after two years without any possibility of parole, official news agency, Xinhua, said in a report on Friday.

Sun had overseen the crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in 2017 and was also part of the team of officials initially dispatched to the central Chinese city of Wuhan to supervise the containment of the Covid-19 virus in early 2020.

This is the second high-profile sentencing in two days and part of a flurry of indictments this month as President Xi Jinping’s anti-graft campaign nets former top officials just weeks ahead of the Communist party congress where he is expected to secure an unprecedented third term.

The court said Sun had abused his power in a number of influential positions between 2001 and 2020, and pleaded guilty in July to accepting more than 646 million yuan ($91 million) in bribes.

China’s public security ministry denounced him and the “venomous” influence of his “political clique” in January.

A state media report published last year said he had abandoned his post during the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan.

“The investigation found that on the frontline of fighting the Covid-19 epidemic, Sun deserted his post. He also possessed confidential materials without authorisation and engaged in superstitious activities for a long time,” the report said.

Investigators also said Sun had “…never stayed true to the party’s ideals and faith, displayed extremely inflated political ambition and very poor political integrity, issued groundless criticisms of the party’s policies, and spread political rumours”.

Tangshan incident sentencing

The primary suspect in the brutal beating of four women at a barbecue restaurant in Tangshan in northern China’s Hebei province in June was sentenced to 24 years in prison and fined 320,000 yuan ($45,215) by a local court on Friday.

Footage of the men assaulting the women after one of them rejected advances of the main suspect was widely shared online, sparking outrage country-wide outrage.

In all, 28 persons related to the incident were arrested by the end of last month.

The remaining 27 defendants were sentenced from six months to 11 years in prison.

“Chen Jizhi, the prime culprit and other five defendants will correspondingly compensate the four victims for costs incurred for medical treatment, nursing, food subsidies, transportation and other losses,” state-run tabloid, Global Times reported citing the court’s order.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sutirtho Patranobis has been in Beijing since 2012, as Hindustan Times’ China correspondent. He was previously posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he covered the final phase of the civil war and its aftermath. Patranobis covered several beats including health and national politics in Delhi before being posted abroad.

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