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China Jails Former Minister for Life on Bribery Conviction

A Beijing court has sentenced a former government minister to life in prison for accepting bribes.

State media report that Tian Fengshan will have all his personal assets confiscated and his political rights will be forfeited for life.

Tian was convicted for accepting more than a half million dollars in bribes while he was governor of the northeastern province of Heilongjiang and then Minister for Lands and Resources.

He was dismissed from his cabinet-level post in 2003 on ethics charges.

The Associated Press reports that Tian is the highest-ranking Chinese official in four years to be prosecuted in China's ongoing anti-graft drive. A former deputy chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Cheng Kejie was executed in 2001 after a bribery conviction.