Senior China official was sentenced to life in prison after convicted of taking $22M in bribes

The former head of China’s statistics bureau was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of taking massive bribes over more than two decades — one of a spate of newly-resolved public corruption cases involving almost $100 million in money and illicit gifts.

National Bureau of Statistics head Wang Baoan was accused of trading political favors for money, sex, gifts, property and business concessions, according to a court in Hebei province and the official Xinhua News Agency. The bribes reportedly worth 153 million yuan ($22.4 million) were channeled to Wang either directly or through relatives.

Control over information such as bank lending and local economic growth is enormously valuable in China, where the government often operates in secret and officials are mainly evaluated for promotion based on their ability to meet economic development targets.

Wang’s sentencing was one of seven in corruption trials involving senior public officials reported Wednesday and Thursday by Xinhua. The cases involved a combined 650 million yuan ($95.7 million) in bribes, an enormous sum compared to the relatively modest salaries paid to public officials in China.

Four of the officials including Wang received life in prison.

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