Chinese former bank chief given life in prison for bribery

China on Friday sentenced the former president of one of its biggest state-owned banks to life in prison for bribery, state media reported, as a campaign against corruption sweeps through the country’s financial sector.

Sun Deshun, the onetime chief of China Citic Bank, was ruled by a court in eastern Shandong province to have illegally received property valued at 980 million yuan ($134 million) over 16 years, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

“The circumstances of the crime were particularly serious, and their social impacts were particularly bad, causing the interests of the country and the people to suffer particularly heavy losses”, the court ruled, according to CCTV.

A judge sentenced Sun to death with reprieve, a punishment that is typically commuted to life imprisonment after two years.

China’s President Xi Jinping has waged a sweeping campaign on deep-seated official corruption since coming to power a decade ago.

Proponents say the policy promotes clean governance, while critics say it helps Xi purge political rivals.

Last week, the ruling Communist Party said it had launched a corruption investigation into Zhang Hongli, the former vice chief of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

And the country’s top prosecutor last month formally arrested former Bank of China chairman Liu Lian’ge following a months-long graft probe.

Xi last month chaired a rare financial meeting aimed at “guarding against and resolving risks” in the sector.

The National Financial Work Conference also stressed the need to “strengthen financial supervision… (and) promote finance with Chinese characteristics”.

China has charted an uncertain recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic as weak consumption and a slow-motion housing crisis weigh on growth.


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