A former Chinese railway ministry official was given a suspended death sentence Friday by a court on charges of taking bribes worth nearly $8 million. The move comes amid the Chinese government's drive to root out corruption among government officials across the country.
The government seized all property owned by Zhang Shuguang, former head of the railway ministry's transportation bureau, after finding him guilty of corruption charges. The government also revoked the political rights allowed to him, Xinhua, a state-run news agency, reported Friday. The court also said that Zhang deserved a death sentence but was given a suspended death sentence because the money paid in bribes was recovered, according to Associated Press. Suspended death sentences typically mean life imprisonment in China.
Zhang’s conviction comes more than a year after a suspended death sentence was handed down to Liu Zhijun, the former Railway Minister, after he was found guilty of corruption. Liu was given a death sentence in July 2013 for taking bribes worth more than 64 million yuan ($10 million) over a period of 25 years.
In August, the Communist Party of China, or CPC, led by President Xi Jinping, announced that it had exposed 154 breaches of "anti-bureaucracy and formalism guidelines" in the first week of the month alone. The anti-corruption campaign has also reportedly led to a surge in the number of suicides. In 2014, at least six Chinese officials have committed suicide.
Among senior Party officials, the country is also investigating Zhou Yongkang, a former chief of security; Xu Caihou, former vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission; and Ji Wenlin, the former vice governor of Hainan province, on charges of corruption.