November 3, 2015 / 3:10 AM / 4 years ago

Former senior Chinese official jailed for 12 years for graft

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese court has jailed for 12 years a former top aide to the country’s disgraced security chief Zhou Yongkang, on corruption charges, the official Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.

Li Chongxi, once the top political adviser in the southwestern province of Sichuan, one of Zhou’s old strongholds, was indicted in April and tried in a court in Nangchang in China’s southern province of Jiangxi.

He is among a slew of former Zhou allies to face punishment for graft amid a sweeping anti-corruption campaign by the leaders of the ruling Communist Party.

Li “admitted to his crimes and expressed regret” after appearing in court, Xinhua said, adding that his cooperation had led to lighter punishment.

Li’s official biography says he was promoted, during Zhou’s tenure in Sichuan, to be a deputy provincial party boss and head of the province’s anti-graft watchdog.

Zhou, once one of China’s most powerful politicians, has been charged with leaking state secrets, as well as bribery and abuse of power.

A member of the elite Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou held the position of domestic security tsar until he retired in 2012.

Xinhua said Li, from whom authorities confiscated assets worth 1 million yuan, used his positions in Sichuan, including those at real estate and construction firms, to secure rights for local companies to develop state-owned land.

Either directly or through his wife, Li accepted money and goods valued at about 11.1 million yuan ($1.75 million), it added.

Many of Zhou’s political allies, including Jiang Jiemin, the former top regulator of state-owned enterprises, have been felled in the graft crackdown launched by President Xi Jinping since becoming party leader in late 2012, and president in 2013.

Reporting by Megha Rajagopalan and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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