A provincial court in China on Friday announced that a former Chinese deputy public security minister condemned earlier for damaging the ruling Communist party’s unity, taking large bribes and “deserting” his post during China’s initial fight against Covid-19, has been jailed for life.
In a report, China’s official news agency, Xinhua on Friday said that Sun Lijun, 53, was handed a suspended death sentence that will be commuted to a life in prison after two years without any possibility of parole.
In 2017, Sun had overseen the crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and was also part of the team of officials initially dispatched to the central Chinese city of Wuhan to supervise the containment of the Covid-19 virus in early 2020.
This is the second high-profile sentencing in two days and part of a flurry of indictments this month as President Xi Jinping’s anti-graft campaign nets former top officials just weeks ahead of the Communist party congress where he is expected to secure an unprecedented third term.
According to reports, the court said that Sun had abused his power in a number of influential positions between 2001 and 2020, and pleaded guilty in July to accepting more than 646 million yuan ($91 million) in bribes.
China’s public security ministry denounced him and the “venomous” influence of his “political clique” in January.
“The investigation found that on the frontline of fighting the Covid-19 epidemic, Sun deserted his post. He also possessed confidential materials without authorisation and engaged in superstitious activities for a long time,” the report said.
Investigators also said Sun had “…never stayed true to the party’s ideals and faith, displayed extremely inflated political ambition and very poor political integrity, issued groundless criticisms of the party’s policies, and spread political rumours”.