Suspended death sentence for former Chinese rail minister

By Helen Wright08 July 2013

Liu Zhijun was secretary general of China's Minsitry of Railways from 2003 until being removed from

Liu Zhijun was secretary general of China's Minsitry of Railways from 2003 until being removed from the post in February 2011 on suspicion of taking kickbacks.

Liu Zhijun, China’s Minister for Railways from 2003 to 2011, has been given a death sentence suspended for two-years for bribery and abuse of power in connection with construction of the country’s high-speed rail network.

The Beijing court also "deprived his political right for life and confiscated all his personal property", according to state media reports. Suspended death sentences in China that include a two-year reprieve are usually commuted to life imprisonment. The court's verdict is likely to require Mr Liu to spend at least ten years in jail.

The sentence follows Mr Liu’s guilty plea to accepting bribes. The trail followed his arrest and removal from office in March 2011 and his subsequent expulsion from the Chinese Communist Party in May 2012.

Mr Liu admitted to accepting CNY 64.6 million (US$ 10.5 million) in cash bribes and CNY 800 million (US$ 130 million) in property between 1986 and 2011. He also said he received numerous other bribes, including shares, cars and works of art. The bribes were given in exchange for construction contracts as well as for jobs within China's railway organisation.

As part of his guilty plea, Mr Liu asked for leniency in sentencing. The court was also asked to recognise his positive contribution to China’s infrastructure.

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