China jails former security chief for life

China's former security chief Zhou Yongkang sentenced to life in prison

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

China's former domestic security chief was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday, Chinese media have reported.

Zhou Yongkang was convicted of bribery, leaking state secrets and abuse of power last April, state news agency Xinhua reported.

He was one of the most powerful men in China when he was in charge. During his trial he accepted the accusations against him and said he is not going to appeal against any verdict.

Zhou, 72, is the most senior Chinese official to be ensnared in a graft scandal since the party swept to power in 1949. The decision to prosecute Zhou underscores President Xi Jinping's commitment to fighting graft at the highest levels.

Zhou's alleged crimes took place over decades, including when he was deputy general manager of the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), party boss in southwestern Sichuan province, minister of public security and a member of the Politburo Standing Committee.

Zhou was a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's apex of power, and held the post of security tsar until he retired in 2012.

He also built an extensive power base at oil giant CNPC as he rose to the top of the company in the 1990s. At least a dozen former top managers at CNPC have been arrested as part of the crackdown on graft.

The Chinese government's fight against corruption has extended to almost every corner of the country, including powerful state-owned companies which dominate sectors of the economy such as energy, banking and telecommunications.

Retired legislators and lawyers have said many previous abuses of the rule of law in China can be attributed to Zhou, who had expanded his role into one of the most powerful and controversial fiefdoms in the one-party government.

Sources with ties to the Chinese leadership have previously said that Xi became determined to bring down Zhou after he allegedly plotted appointments to retain influence ahead of the 18th Party Congress in November 2012, when Xi took over leadership of the party.

TRTWorld and agencies