(TibetanReview.net, Sep23’22) – A one-time top corruption investigator in China, having fallen foul of the President Xi Jinping leadership, has himself been handed a suspended death sentence for corruption.
Former Chinese Justice Minister Fu Zhenghua, who had led several high-profile investigations into corruption, has been jailed for life for accepting bribes, reported Reuters Sep 22, citing Chinese state media, as a purge of officials intensified ahead of a key Communist Party congress next month.
Fu, 67, was handed a suspended death sentence that will be commuted to life imprisonment after two years, with no possibility of parole, China’s state media was cited as saying Sep 22.
Fu a deputy head of the Ministry of Public Security who went on to become the justice minister in 2018, had led many high-profile investigations and crackdowns including a probe about a decade ago into Zhou Yongkang, a former security czar and the most powerful official in modern China to be convicted of bribery.
But in Jul 2022, Fu himself admitted accepting bribes exceeding 117 million yuan ($16.50 million).
However, corruption was not the only reason why Fu suffered a cataclysmic fall from grace in China’s power echelon.
Ahead of his court trial in the northeastern city of Changchun, China’s anti-graft watchdog determined earlier this year that Fu had also been part of a “political gang” of Sun Lijun – one of the most prominent officials from the security apparatus to be targeted since Zhou’s conviction in 2015.
Sun, a vice minister of public security, began to be probed in 2020. He admitted on state television in Jan 2022 that he had colluded with some top law enforcement officials with the aim of personal enrichment.
But, more than that, Sun was also accused of not embracing President Xi Jinping’s authority.
Reuters noted that the influence of Sun, who has yet to receive his sentence, was so pervasive within the party that it had been described by authorities as “poisonous”, with Sun himself being described as a “cancer” that needed to be eliminated.
Others accused of being disloyal to Xi have also been sentenced recently for corruption.
On Sep 21, three former police chiefs of Shanghai, Chongqing and Shanxi province were sentenced to years in jail – including one for life – for corruption, the report noted.
Like Fu, they had also been accused of being part of Sun’s clique and for being disloyal to Xi.
These purges have come three weeks ahead of a once-in-five-years congress of the ruling Communist Party at which Xi is set to secure a precedent-breaking third term as China’s leader.