China jails associate of former security chief for life for graft

October 13, 2016 1:20 AM EDT

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BEIJING (Reuters) - A court in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou jailed an associate of disgraced former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang for life on Thursday after finding him guilty of corruption.

Tan Li was a vice governor of the island province of Hainan, which China likes to style as its answer to Hawaii or Bali, until he was put under investigation by the ruling Communist Party in 2014.

Tan's official resume shows he worked as the propaganda chief in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, while Zhou served as the province's party boss from 1999 to 2002.

Zhou, the most senior Chinese official to be ensnared in a graft probe since the ruling Communist Party swept to power in 1949, was jailed for life last year for bribery, leaking state secrets and abuse of power.

The Guangzhou court said in a short statement on its official microblog that Tan was found guilty of taking more than 82 million yuan ($12.30 million) in bribes and ordered all his assets to be seized and handed over to the state.

The court said Tan abused his power to influence unnamed industrial projects and arbitration cases, but that as he had admitted his guilt and cooperated with the investigation he had received a lighter sentence, meaning he avoided the death penalty.

It said Tan's crimes occurred between 2001 and 2014, giving a timeframe including his work with Zhou in Sichuan. The judgment did not name Zhou.

It was not possible to reach any family members or legal representatives of Tan for comment.

Many of Zhou's associates and allies have been jailed, including his wife and son.

President Xi Jinping has mounted a sweeping anti-corruption campaign since coming to power almost four years ago.

Xi has warned that rampant corruption threatens the survival of the Communist Party and has waged a campaign against graft that has swept up scores of senior officials in the party, the government, the military and state-owned companies.

(Reporting by Beijing monitoring desk; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry and Nick Macfie)

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