A day after two senior officials were punished for graft and abuse of power, a court in China sentenced another top security official on Friday to death with a two-year reprieve for corruption. This came amid reports of a purge of a ‘political clique’ that opposed President Xi Jinping winning an unparalleled third term at the Communist Party Congress next month.
Former vice minister of public security Sun Lijun, who was charged with leading a ‘political clique’ opposed to Xi, was given a two-year reprieve from his death sentence after being found guilty of accepting bribes, manipulating the stock market, and illegally having firearms.
The Intermediate People’s Court of Changchun, in the northeast Chinese province of Jilin, declared that Sun had also been irrevocably deprived of his political rights and had had all of his personal property seized. The 53-year-old Sun was charged with being a ‘political clique’ and betraying Xi, according to the South China Morning Post of Hong Kong.
Following the detention of five former police chiefs who were charged in Sun’s corruption case earlier this week, the report stated that the biggest purge of China’s security apparatus in the previous five years is nearing an end.
The purge anticipates an important leadership shake-up at the Communist Party Congress, which starts on October 16, where Xi, who will complete his 10-year term later this year, is expected to win support for a third, extraordinary five-year term. After serving for 10 years, all of his predecessors retired.