Ling Jihua pleaded guilty and "decided not to appeal"
Ling Jihua was sentenced to life after a Chinese court found the former Hu Jintao top aide guilty of corruption, taking bribes, illegally obtaining state secrets and abusing power.
The investigation was announced by the ruling Communist Party in December 2014. Ling, who was chief-of-staff to former President Hu had been demoted in September 2012 from his ministerial-level job due to a high profile anti-corruption campaign involving his son’s death.
Ling had allegedly tried to cover up his son’s involvement when he was killed in a crash with two semi-clad women whilst he was behind the wheel of his Ferrari in Beijing. The identities of the women inside the Ferrari were never announced. Online censors blocked comments mentioning the crash from circulating.
The court in the northern city of Tianjin held a closed door hearing on 7 June, according to Xinhua.
“Ling Jihua took an extremely large amount of bribes. He obtained a large number of state secrets, and the crimes were very serious. He abused his power, and caused a terrible impact upon society.”
Ling allegedly received more than 77.08 million yuan ($11.6 million) in bribes personally and through his family. The case also implicated several other high-profile former politicians, including Bai Enpei who was once the party’s boss in Yunnan. Bai’s hearing occurred last month, but as of yet, no verdict has been announced.
Ling did not contest the allegations,
“I accept all the charges and submit to the judgment, today’s trial will be engraved in my memory.”
He also added that the trial was “solemn, meticulous, rational and civilised” that embodyed a combination of rule of law and humanitarian treatment.
Ling’s wife Gu Liping also testified by video against him.
The crimes listed by Xinhua occurred prior to when Ling stepped down as Hu’s aide and it was during this period that Ling managed to get hold of state secrets from Huo Ke, who had been working in the general office at the time.
The case is one of many triggered by current President Xi Jinping’s campaign to crack down on corruption amongst high-ranking politicians, which he began since his inauguration back in 2012. However, critics claim that his campaign is just as much about eliminating political rivals as it is about tackling corruption.