A close aide of former Chinese president Hu Jintao was today jailed for life for taking bribes, illegally obtaining state secrets and abuse of power, making him one of the senior officials of the previous regime to be punished in the anti-corruption campaign launched by President Xi Jinping.
Ling Jihua, 59, pleaded guilty and decided not to appeal, the First Intermediate People’s Court of Tianjin which conducted the trial said in its judgement.
Ling regarded as a very power official during the ten-year regime of Hu, the vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), and head of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) before he fell from grace and 2014, a year after Xi came to power and launched the anti-corruption campaign.
Ling’s high profile world was exposed when his son Ling Gu’s died after crashing his Ferrari sports car here in March, 2012. Two young women, one naked and the other semi-naked who were in the car were also seriously injured. There were allegations of a cover up of the investigations.
He was one of the several top CPC politicians who were prosecuted for corruption and abuse of power in Xi’s high profile anti-corruption campaign in which thousands of officials from different ranks were prosecuted in the last three years.
Besides Ling, those prosecuted include former national security Czar Zhou Yangkong, former Chinese politician Bo Xilai and his wife as well as top military officials like Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong.
The indictment accused Ling of seeking benefits for others and asking for and illegally accepting a huge amount of property, taking advantage of his powerful posts, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
“Ling’s offence in illegally obtaining state secrets is serious and he also committed extremely serious offence in abusing his power and causing major losses to public property and the interests of the country and its people,” the indictment said. It said he should be held “criminally” responsible for accepting bribes, illegally obtaining state secrets and abuse of power.