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China jails former Nanjing city chief for 12 years for graft

BEIJING A court in eastern China on Wednesday sentenced the former Communist Party chief of the major city of Nanjing to 12-1/2 years in jail, after finding him guilty of corruption.

Yang Weize, Nanjing’s top official, was put under investigation early last year by the party’s internal anti-graft watchdog.

The court in Ningbo said Yang accepted bribes, either directly or through his wife, worth 16.4 million yuan ($2.38 million) between 2005 and 2014.

Yang admitted his crimes, expressed repentance and cooperated in returning the dirty money, meaning he got a lighter sentence, the court added.

It was not possible to reach a legal representative of Yang for comment.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is leading an aggressive campaign against official corruption that is tearing down once-untouchable Party, military and business leaders and rolling up their powerful networks of relatives and allies.

Nanjing was China’s capital city before the 1949 Communist revolution and was the scene of a massacre in 1937 by Japanese troops, an event that still plays a key role in defining China’s relationship with Japan.

Yang, who took on his role as Nanjing party chief in 2011, was also a member of the Standing Committee in Jiangsu province, whose capital is Nanjing.

($1=6.9038 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)