A Beijing court has given China’s former railways minister a two-year suspended death sentence for bribery and abuse of power for his role in a huge corruption scandal.
The official Xinhua news agency said the court also ruled Monday that Liu Zhijun, left, would lose all his personal property and be deprived of political rights for life.
In China, a suspended death sentence is usually commuted to life in prison.
According to the indictment, Liu accepted more than $10 million in bribes to help people win promotions or contracts between 1986 and 2011. He was fired in February of last year and later kicked out of the Communist Party.
The indictment also said Liu was responsible for ‘huge losses of public assets and of the interests of the state and people.’
Liu is the first government minister in China to be prosecuted for corruption. His trial opened in mid June.
A rumor last month that Liu might receive a lenient sentence sparked outrage on China websites and social media.
A post that asked ‘how heaven could accept leniency’ toward Liu was re-tweeted over 120,000 times, with almost unanimous opposition to leniency in Liu’s case.
Known as ‘Great Leap Liu,’ he led the expansion of China’s bullet train network, now the world’s largest.