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Former Minister Sentenced to Life Imprisonment
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Tian Fengshan, former Chinese Minister of Land and Resources, was sentenced to life imprisonment and deprived of political rights for life on Tuesday for accepting bribes worth 4.36 million yuan (US$538,270).

The Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court handed down the verdict in the first instance. All his personal assets had been confiscated.

According to the court verdict, from 1996 to 2003, Tian took advantage of his posts as governor of Heilongjiang Province and Minister of Land and Resources to seek personal gains for the officials who gave bribes to him.

All the illicit money and bribes, accepted by Tian, have been recovered, the court said.

The court verdict said Tian Fengshan had committed a crime of bribery. In the capacity of a civil servant, Tian misused his power to seek illicit gains for those who offered bribes and accepted their bribes. And the amount of bribes he had taken was especially large.

However, in view of the fact that Tian confessed most crimes he had committed, repented his crimes and being active in returning accepted bribes, he was given a lenient punishment, court verdict said.

(Xinhua News Agency December 28, 2005)

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