Formerly high-flying Chinese officials sentenced for graft


BEIJING (AP) — A pair of formerly high-flying Chinese provincial officials were sentenced to life in prison on Friday for corruption and bribe-taking, the latest targets to fall in President Xi Jinping’s years-long campaign against graft at all levels of government and state industry.

The charges against Wang Min and Wan Qinglang reflect the widespread practice of exchanging cash and gifts for jobs and appointments that themselves may offer lucrative opportunities for self-enrichment through corruption.

A court in the eastern city of Jingbo said Wang, the former Communist Party secretary and top official in the northern transportation hub of Jinan, was sentenced after being found guilty of accepting 18 million yuan ($2.7 million) in bribes to approve real estate projects and arrange jobs and appointments.

Also Friday, Wan Qinglang, former party boss of the southern industrial center of Guangzhou, was sentenced in the southern city of Nanning for receiving 110 million yuan ($17 million) over a 14-year period, in exchange for arranging jobs and granting other illegal favors.

It wasn’t clear if either man planned to appeal, although such moves have grown rare as prosecutors sometimes go relatively lightly on defendants in exchange for their cooperation.

Xi has vowed to end corruption and government waste, although critics have accused him of using the campaign to attack political rivals. Some Chinese also complain that the drive has resulted in bureaucratic paralysis as officials refuse to perform certain standard tasks out of fear of being accused of bribe-taking.

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This story has been corrected to show that the name of one defendant is Wan Qinglang, not Wan Chinglang.

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