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China jails former senior judge for life in graft case
February 16, 2017 / 9:34 AM / in 8 months

China jails former senior judge for life in graft case

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese court on Thursday jailed for life a former senior judge from the country’s highest court, after finding him guilty of corruption, state media said, the latest official to fall foul of a sweeping crackdown on graft.

Xi Xiaoming, a former vice president of the Supreme People’s Court, was put under investigation in 2015.

He was one of the most senior judicial officials ousted by President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign since the downfall of Zhou Yongkang, the former domestic security chief whose brief included law enforcement and courts.

Zhou was jailed for life in 2015.

State television said a court in the northern city of Tianjin found Xi Xiaoming guilty of accepting 115 million yuan (£13.4 million) in bribes between 1996 and 2015.

Xi admitted his guilt and has repented and so received a lighter sentence, the report said, probably meaning he avoided a death sentence.

It was not possible to reach a legal or family representative for comment.

The judge, a member of the ruling Chinese Communist Party for 40 years, was also accused by the party in 2015 of breaching confidentiality rules and leaking secrets related to judicial work.

He was the number four official in the Supreme People’s Court, where he specialised in economic law cases.

A native of eastern Jiangsu province, he rose from working as a policeman in the city of Shenyang in the 1970s to the highest echelon of the judiciary, where he was also a member of the court’s leading Party members’ group, according to his official biography.

China’s leaders have pledged to continue combating graft, seen as crucial to the party’s survival, and have vowed to go after “tigers” in senior positions as well as lowly “flies”.

(The story was refiled to correct the year in paragraphs 2, 8 to 2015, not last year)

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Robert Birsel

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