Page last updated at 09:26 GMT, Tuesday, 19 January 2010

China jails senior judge for life over corruption

The Supreme People's Court building in Beijing - file photo - 30 March 2006
Huang is the most senior judge to have been removed from office in China

A Chinese court has sentenced a former Supreme Court judge to life in prison for taking bribes and other corruption charges, state-run media have reported.

Huang Songyou is the most senior judge to have been convicted in China on such charges, Chinese media have said.

He was convicted of accepting 3.9m yuan($570,000; £348,000) in bribes while he was deputy head of the Supreme Court.

He has been thrown out of the Communist Party and will not be allowed to hold public office again.

Huang was also convicted of embezzling 1.2m yuan in government funds in 1997 when he was president of a lower-level court in the southern province of Guangdong.

Hefty sum

He confessed to the charges after he was removed from his position on the Supreme People's Court in 2008. His property had been confiscated, the official Xinhua news agency said.

"Huang knowingly violated the law by trading power for money and taking a hefty sum of bribes, which has produced a bad impact on society, and should be punished severely," Xinhua quoted the court verdict as saying.

China has launched an anti-corruption drive, targeting top officials - but Huang, 52, is the most senior judicial figure to fall since the Communist Party took power in 1949, a Supreme Court official told Xinhua.

Courts in China are theoretically independent, but are tightly controlled by the Communist Party, correspondents say.

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