China insurance chief given life in jail for corruption

The former head of a major Chinese insurance firm has been sentenced to life in prison for corruption, state media reported, as Beijing carries out a sweeping crackdown on graft.

Wang Bin, the former chairman and Communist Party chief of China Life Insurance, was handed “death with a two-year reprieve” for taking bribes and hiding overseas savings, state news agency Xinhua said Tuesday.

His sentence “can be commuted to life imprisonment… (with) no further reduction or parole” after two years, Xinhua said.

It said a court in the eastern province of Shandong found Wang abused his positions at “various financial institutions” over decades to rack up illicit gains worth 325 million yuan ($44.6 million).

He was also found to have concealed savings in foreign currency totalling 56 million yuan in violation of regulations and rules for state workers.

Since coming to power in 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping has waged a sweeping campaign on deep-seated official corruption.

Proponents say the policy promotes clean governance, while critics claim it helps Xi purge political rivals. — Agence France-Presse