China rail official sentenced to death for graft

AP News
Posted: Oct 17, 2014 12:56 AM

BEIJING (AP) — A former top Chinese railway official was convicted of taking nearly $8 million in bribes and given a suspended death sentence, a court said Friday.

The ruling against Zhang Shuguang, formerly the deputy chief engineer for the now-defunct Railway Ministry, came more than a year after the former railway minister Liu Zhijun was convicted of corruption and also received a suspended death sentenced as part of a broader anti-graft campaign under President Xi Jinping.

Suspended sentences are generally commuted to life in prison after two years.

The ruling Communist Party and its government are eager to rein in the rampant corruption, which senior leaders say threatens the party's rule.

Liu and Zhang oversaw the rapid expansion of high-speed rail in China but also fostered a vast and deeply corrupt ministry empire that ran its own courts and police and commanded a massive budget.

The Beijing No. 2 Intermediate Court said Zhang's crimes deserved the death penalty, but the lesser sentence was given because Zhang showed contrition and the graft money had been recovered.

All of Zhang's personal assets will be confiscated, the court said.