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Former senior official Ling given life in prison for bribery

Updated: 2016-07-05 07:33
(China Daily)

Ling Jihua, a former State-level official, was sentenced to life in prison for taking bribes totaling 77.08 million yuan ($11.6 million), illegally obtaining State secrets and abusing power, a court ruling said on Monday.

Ling, 59, former vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, pleaded guilty and decided not to appeal, a court video broadcast by China Central Television showed on Monday.

"I accept all the charges and submit to the judgment," Ling said in his final statement. "Today's trial will be engraved in my memory."

He said the trial was "solemn, meticulous, rational and civilized", embodying a combination of rule of law and humanitarian treatment.

"I sincerely thank the court, the procuratorate and (my) two attorneys," Ling said.

Ling was also deprived of his political rights for life and had his personal assets confiscated, under the verdict given by the First Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin. He served at the General Office of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee from 1995 to 2012, and was head of the office for five years, a position comparable to that of the White House chief of staff in the United States.

He later served as head of the CPC Central Committee's United Front Work Department before being investigated on suspicion of graft in late 2014.

The court said it carried out a closed trial on June 7, since State secrets were involved. Judicial organs fully protected Ling and his legal team's litigation rights while handling the case, the court said.

Judges found that Ling, taking advantage of his positions, had sought or promised to seek profits or promotion opportunities for a number of bribers, either senior officials or businesspeople, including Lou Zhongfu, Cui Xiaoyu, Pan Yiyang, Wei Xin, Li Chuncheng, Bai Enpei and Huo Ke.

Ling had extorted or accepted bribes personally or through his wife, or knowingly allowed his wife and his son, Ling Gu, to accept or extort bribes, according to the court.

While serving as head of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee and deputy head of the CPPCC, Ling illegally obtained a large amount of classified materials through Huo, then-head of the secretariat of the CPC Central Committee's General Office, as well as through others. This seriously compromised the country's secrecy system, the verdict said.

Ling also abused his power to assist two people named in court only as Chen and Zhang, as well as their relatives, with job transfers, property purchase, promotion and change of residential status, resulting in substantial losses in terms of public property and national interests, according to the verdict.

Ling is the latest senior official, or "tiger", to be found guilty in the country's ongoing anti-graft campaign. A commentary published on Tuesday in People's Daily, the official newspaper of the CPC, said Ling's sentence again shows the Party's determination and strong resolution in fighting corruption.

It called on all Party members, particularly officials and leaders, to learn profound lessons from Ling's case and to fully respect Party regulations and State laws.

The article also said Ling's case, which was conducted strictly according to law, shows that China's anti-graft campaign has been carried out appropriately under the legal system.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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