China's ex-political high-flyer & fallen Politburo star gets life sentence for corruption

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In order to retrieve his "illegal gains", authorities are set to confiscate Sun's property and he will be deprived of his political rights for the rest of his life.

He was also the most senior serving politician snared by Chinese President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign in 2017.

Sun was a member of the Communist Party's key decision-making body, the Politburo, but was expelled from the party in September, before being handed over to prosecutors.

Sun Zhengcai, then party chief of Jilin province attends a meeting held on the sidelines of the 18th National Congress of the CPC, in Beijing, November 9, 2012.

In September, the Politburo of the Central Committee chose to exclude Sun from the ranks of the party citing "violation of the party discipline".

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Court documents show that Sun had taken advantage of his various posts to seek profits of up to 170m yuan (US$26.7m) between 2002 and 2017, China News Service reports.

A former top Chinese Communist Party official, who was accused of plotting a coup against President Xi Jinping previous year, was today sentenced to life imprisonment for taking Dollars 26.7 million in bribes. In February, the Communist Party announced plans to amend China's constitution to remove term limits for the president, leading many to conclude that Xi intends to rule for life.

Sun's failure to obtain approval from senior party figures for his political ambitions was the most likely cause of his downfall, said Ding Xueliang, an expert on Chinese politics at Hong Kong's University of Science and Technology.

However, bringing political charges would be "extremely explosive" for a party intent on keeping secret its inner processes, factional rivalries and methods of distributing power and privilege, Ding said.

Mr Sun was replaced in Chongqing by Chen Min'er, a former aide and protégé of Mr Xi who was elevated to the 25-member Politburo at the national party congress in October. Bo was sentenced to life in prison in 2013 for corruption.

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