China jails former top parliament body official for graft

BEIJING: A Chinese court on Monday jailed for life for corruption a former vice-chairman of the top parliamentary advisory body, the latest senior official to fall foul of President Xi Jinping's sweeping campaign against graft.

China's campaign against deep-rooted official corruption has intensified since Xi took power four years ago, with dozens of senior government figures and state company executives having been jailed.

Su Rong had been one of the 23 vice-chairmen of the largely ceremonial but high-profile Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference until authorities began an investigation into him in 2014.

Su previously served as Communist Party boss for the poor inland provinces of Jiangxi and Gansu.

In a short statement, the court in the northern city of Jinan said Su was guilty of bribery, abuse of power and being unable to explain the source of a "massive amount" of assets.

Su took bribes worth 116 million yuan ($16.92 million) between 2002 and 2014, the court said.

Su said he accepted the verdict and would not appeal, the court added.

It was not possible to reach a legal representative for comment.

The ruling Communist Party's anti-corruption watchdog had previously accused him of selling "ranks and titles".

Separately, the watchdog said courts had jailed two former officials for corruption who had fled abroad to try and avoid justice. Both had returned to China.

China has vowed to pursue an overseas search dubbed Operation "Fox Hunt" for corrupt officials and business executives, and their assets, part of Xi's war on deep-seated corruption.

China has been keen to get international support for its fight against corruption, but many Western countries have been reluctant to help, wary of China's poor legal safeguards for suspects and concerns about mistreatment.

Last week, China pledged to banish abuse in graft investigations and urged foreign diplomats to help "weave a cooperative network against corruption".