China’s Ex-Justice Minister Gets Life for Corruption

Former Chinese Justice Minister Fu Zhenghua, 67, was sentenced to death on Thursday. This was announced by the Ordinary People’s Court of Changchun, the capital of the northeastern province of Jilin. However, the sentence is commuted to a life sentence.

Ex-Minister Zhenghua, who also held a senior police post and was Deputy Minister of Public Security, began his career as a simple inspector in Beijing. He was one of the key politicians who fell over the past five years.

Coincidence or not, the time of the sentencing falls shortly before the start of the Chinese Communist Party Congress in mid-October. President Xi Jinping is seeking a third term at the head of the party.

Zhenghua was convicted of having “accepted a bribe” and “ignoring the law in the interest of himself and his loved ones,” the court said. From 2005 to 2021, according to the court, Zhenghua used his various functions to “help” individuals and companies to circumvent the law for a fee.

“He received a total of more than 117 million yuan in illegal substances, either directly or through his relatives as intermediaries,” the court said. Converted, this is about 17 million euros. The court also found him guilty of covering up his brother’s criminal activities.

Zhenghua was given the death penalty with a two-year reprieve. After that, the sentence will be commuted to life, with no possibility of early release, the court says. Zhenghua escaped the death penalty because he confessed and cooperated with the police in other affairs.

Xi Jinping launched an anti-corruption campaign when he took office in 2013. At least one and a half million people have already been sentenced. In addition to Zhenghua, several other security officials were convicted on Wednesday.

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