Zhou Yongkang sentenced to life imprisonment
Zhou Yongkang was sentenced to life imprisonment on Thursday for accepting bribes, abusing his power and deliberately disclosing State secrets, Tianjin Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People's Court ruled.
Zhou, 73, was also deprived of his political rights for life and had his personal assets confiscated.
The trial, held on May 22, was closed to the public because it involved the disclosure of State secrets. Zhou pleaded guilty and will not appeal.
Zhou was formerly a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and secretary of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee.
Before that, he served as deputy general manager of China National Petroleum Corp, secretary of the CPC Sichuan Provincial Committee, and member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee while he was minister of public security and state councilor.
Zhou was convicted of accepting bribes of about 130 million yuan ($21.3 million), according to the judgment.
The court ruled that Zhou had used his position to seek profits for five people, identified as Wu Bing, Ding Xuefeng, Wen Qingshan, Zhou Hao and Jiang Jiemin, and had personally accepted money and property worth 731,100 yuan from Jiang.
Money and property worth 129 million yuan was accepted by his wife, Jia Xiaoye, and son Zhou Bin. Zhou Yongkang was informed about these bribes after the fact.
According to the judgment, Zhou instructed Jiang and Li Chuncheng to assist in the business activities of others, helping them to illegally obtain about 2.14 billion yuan and causing losses to the state of 1.49 billion yuan.
Zhou leaked five "extremely confidential" documents and one "confidential" document to Cao Yongzheng, an unauthorized person, directly contravening the State Secret Law.
Zhou's wife and son testified through video link, while Wu and Jiang appeared in court. Other witness statements were presented along with the evidence.
The court statement said Zhou had taken "particularly huge bribes," but had confessed, pleaded guilty and repented for his wrongdoing. The majority of the money was accepted by his relatives, without his prior knowledge. Zhou asked his relatives to return their illegal gains. All gifts and cash have now been recovered. These actions constitute "legal and discretionary grounds for lesser punishment."
The court said that Zhou's abuse of power and deliberate disclosure of State secrets were "particularly grave circumstances," but his disclosure of State secrets "did not have very serious consequences."
The court reached its verdict "in accordance with the facts, nature and details" of Zhou's crimes, based on the harm done to society.
In his final statement, Zhou accepted the charges. "The basic facts are clear. I plead guilty and repent my wrongdoing," he said.
"Those involved, who bribed my family, were actually coming after the power I held, and I should take the main responsibility.
"I broke the law and Party rules incessantly, and the objective facts of my crimes have resulted in grave losses to the Party and the nation.
"The handling of my case in accordance with Party rules and the law reflects the authorities' determination to govern the Party strictly and advance the rule of law," Zhou added.
On April 3, prosecutors from Tianjin Municipal People's Procuratorate filed Zhou's case.
The court formed a collegiate bench authorized by the Supreme People's Court and sent a copy of the indictment to Zhou. It also informed the defendant of his litigation rights and obligations. The two lawyers hired by Zhou held a number of meetings with Zhou and reviewed the case files.
The court also held a pretrial meeting of prosecutors, the defendant and his legal team to hear their opinions and present evidence from both sides.
During the trial, prosecutors and defense attorneys examined the evidence, questioned witnesses and fully expressed their opinions of the facts, application of the law and the sentence.
The court supported opinions from the defense that were based on the facts and had legal standing, it said.
The legitimate litigation rights of Zhou and his defense attorneys were fully guaranteed, the court added.
People's Daily said it will publish an editorial on Friday saying that Zhou's case reflects the country's resolute determination to govern the country in accordance with the law and show the Party's firm attitude to severely punish corruption.
Zhang Yan contributed to this story.
A screen grab from CCTV shows Zhou Yongkang waiting to hear his sentence at a Tianjin court on Thursday.