Wan Qingliang
Wan Qingliang, Communist Party Secretary of Guangzhou, gestures as he speaks at a meeting in Guangzhou, February 18, 2014 Reuters

Wan Qingliang, the former Communist Party chief of the southern city of Guangzhou, was handed a life sentence over corruption charges by a Chinese court on Friday (30 September).

The court in Nanning announced the verdict after it was found that the former head was guilty of taking over ¥100m (£11.57m) in bribes, gifts and from extortion in exchange for help with promotions and project approvals. Qingliang is the latest official to fall in President Xi Jinping's extensive drive against graft.

The court also stated that Qingliang had misused his position as the head of the Communist Party Youth League in the southern province of Guangdong in 2000.

It was reported that Qingliang was given a lighter sentence after he admitted his crime and also produced evidence against him before the court of law, which was not found during the investigation. Considering the sensitivity of the case he could have been given the death penalty, the court said. The court also ordered the seizure of all of Qingliang's possessions.

According to a Channel NewsAsia report, there had never been any doubt that Qingliang would be found guilty as courts in China are controlled by the party and they do not challenge party accusations, especially in bribe cases.

Qingliang had served as the Mayor of Guangzhou from 2010 to 2011. After that, he was given the position of Communist Party Secretary, the top official of the city. However, in October 2014, he was debarred from the post after the party's anti-corruption agency announced that Wan was held for investigation over bribery charges.

Meanwhile, in a separate case, Wang Min, the former party boss of the northern city of Jinan, has been sent to jail for 12 years by a court in the eastern Chinese city of Ningbo for accepting bribes.