China’s once-powerful politician Sun Zhengcai is to stand trial for bribery, state media announced, moving a step closer to the conclusion of a case that has brought down one of the country’s political elite.
The case involving Sun will be heard in Tianjin, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Beijing, according to the Xinhua News Agency. The 54-year-old Sun, once considered a contender for top leadership, was party chief of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing until he was abruptly removed in July. He was put under investigation later and expelled from the Communist Party.
Citing the indictment, Xinhua said Sun “took advantage of the privileges” of his decades-long political career “to gain benefits for others and illegally received money and items in extremely large amounts.” It has not been possible to reach Sun for comment, and it is unclear whether he has been allowed to retain a lawyer. Sun’s fall from grace sheds light on how a reshuffle of the country’s top officials may play out under the leadership of President Xi Jinping. His age and rank would’ve positioned him to advance to a top leadership post after 2022. He was replaced by Chen Miner, another rising political star close to Xi.
Another former Chongqing chief, Bo Xilai, was removed in 2012. Bo is now serving a life sentence in prison for graft and abuse of power.