Chinese President Xi Jinping is cracking down on corruption. Picture: REUTERS
Chinese President Xi Jinping is cracking down on corruption. Picture: REUTERS

China has sentenced Hu Huaibang, a former chair of the nation’s biggest policy bank, to life imprisonment on charges of corruption, the second harsh punishment doled out this week in a sign that President Xi Jinping is escalating a campaign to crack down on lawbreaking state officials.

Hu was found guilty of taking bribes totalling 85.5-million yuan ($13m) during his tenure at China Development Bank between 2009 and 2019, according to the ruling of a Chengde court. Hu pleaded guilty, according to a court statement.

Lai Xiaomin, the former chair of state-controlled Huarong Asset Management, was on Tuesday in a rare move condemned to death after receiving $277m in bribes. The sentences underscore the ruling Communist Party’s increasingly tough stance on corruption among government cadres and corporate executives. More than 1.5-million government officials have been punished in the years-long campaign.

Other officials who have been caught up in Xi’s dragnet in recent years include Yang Jiacai, a former assistant vice-chair at the banking regulator, and Yao Gang, who was vice-chair of China Securities Regulatory Commission. They were both sentenced to at least 16 years in prison in 2018.

Hu has been under investigation since 2019. Earlier, he was identified in a China State Central Television report for helping facilitate a $4.8bn credit line to the now failed conglomerate CEFC China Energy.


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