China jails brother of former aide to Hu Jintao for graft

Ling Zhengce sentenced to 12-and-a-half years for taking 16 million yuan in bribes from 2001 to 2014

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 December, 2016, 10:54pm
UPDATED : Friday, 16 December, 2016, 10:54pm

A court in on Friday jailed for 12-and-a-half years the brother of a disgraced one-time aide to former president Hu Jintao after finding him guilty of receiving bribes, state news agency Xinhua said.

Ling Zhengce, the former deputy head of the parliamentary advisory body in the coal-rich northern province of Shanxi, is the elder brother of Ling Jihua. The former aide to Hu was jailed for life in July, after a case which the ruling Communist Party has said caused major damage to its image.

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Xinhua said the court in Changzhou in Jiangsu province had found Ling Zhengce guilty of taking either directly or indirectly 16 million yuan (HK$18 million)) in bribes from 2001 to 2014.

State television cited the court as saying that Ling had got a lighter sentence because he admitted his crimes, expressed repentance and cooperated.

It was not possible to reach him or a legal representative for comment. Authorities announced an investigation into him in June 2014.

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Vice-Premier Ma Kai last year described the corruption problem in Shanxi as “like a cancer”. As one of China’s top coal-producing provinces, its economy boomed on the back of soaring energy demand over the past decade, one of the reasons state media has given for its graft problem.

In January, China acknowledged for the first time that it was communicating with the United States about Ling Wancheng, a third brother. The government has given no details of any crime in which Ling is suspected.

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Since assuming power in late 2012, President Xi Jinping has pursued a relentless campaign against corruption, warning that the problem could threaten the party’s ability to retain power, though some analysts say he is also eliminating rivals.