A Chinese court sentenced a former official in the northern province of Shanxi to 14 years in prison for taking bribes.
Miao Yuanli, 55, who was vice-mayor of Linfen city from 2001 to 2007, was convicted of taking bribes worth more than 653,000 U.S. dollars, according to the judgement handed down Friday by the Intermediate People's Court of Shuozhou city.
The court, which started hearing the case in late October, ruled that Miao had abused his power to seek benefits for others, including private mine owners, between 2004 and 2007.
During that time, he was in charge of the city's coal and mining industry, as well as education and tourism.
Miao was sacked from his post and detained in late January over the case.
Shanxi is China's largest coal-producing province, churning out 25 percent of the country's total. Linfen, which was ranked among the world's most polluted cities, accounted for more than half of Shanxi's output.
Miao has already appealed the sentence.
(Xinhua News Agency December 28, 2008)