BEIJING: China’s former security chief was sentenced on Thursday to life in prison on corruption charges. Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the ruling Communist Party’s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, is the biggest target to fall in Xi’s drive to end the longstanding culture of bribe taking and influence peddling among officials. The First Intermediate People’s Court of Tianjin said Zhou was sentenced after being tried on May 22 on charges of receiving bribes, abuse of power and leaking state secrets. The trial was held behind closed doors because of the final charge. Zhou, 72, was sentenced to lesser terms on the abuse of power and state secrets charges, and was ordered to serve his sentences concurrently. The sentence also mandates the seizure of all of Zhou’s personal assets.
Siblings’ suicide probe
BEIJING:  Chinese police on Thursday were investigating the apparent suicides of four young siblings aged five to 13 who had been abandoned by their parents in one of the country’s poorest regions. The four were found on Wednesday night at home in a village on the outskirts of the city of Bijie after ingesting liquid pesticide, state media reported. Attempts to resuscitate them failed and they were declared dead at hospital. The children’s mother had abandoned them three years ago and their father had moved away to find work. They had dropped out of school a month before and their only sustenance was corn flour ground from last year’s crop, Xinhua said. Those cases have renewed concern over “left-behind” rural children who are often placed in the care of aged grandparents while their fathers and mothers seek work in far-away cities.
Prosecutor killed
KABUL: A district attorney in an increasingly volatile northern province in Afghanistan was killed on Thursday by a sticky bomb that was attached to his car, an Afghan official said. The bomb went off while Hamidullah Khan, a prosecutor in Shirin Tagab, a district near the border with Turkmenistan, was on his way to work, said Baryalay Basharyar, the deputy police chief in Faryab province. No one immediately claimed responsibility, though Basharyar blamed the Taliban. Judicial officials have come under increasing attacks by Taliban insurgents. Bombers attacked Justice Ministry employees in Kabul at least three times in recent months.