China rail official given death sentence for corruption

A high-speed train arrives at the Bengbu station, east China's Anhui province, one of the stops of the Beijing to Shanghai line which was launched on June 30, 2011 Image copyright AFP
Image caption China has the world's longest network of high-speed rail lines

The former deputy chief engineer of China's disbanded railways ministry has been given a suspended death sentence for corruption, state media report.

Zhang Shuguang was found guilty by a court in Beijing of taking bribes of more than 47m yuan ($7.7m; £4.8m) over 11 years.

The court heard he used his position to help companies secure rail contracts.

He was an associate of Liu Zhijun, the former railways minister who was given a suspended death sentence in 2013.

Many officials of different ranks have been charged in recent months after China's leader Xi Jinping called for a crack down on corruption.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A high-speed train crash led to an investigation into the railway ministry which was later disbanded

Zhang was fired from his position in February 2011, soon after Liu was taken into detention.

Zhang pleaded guilty to 13 charges related to bribery in court in September.

Friday's death sentence was suspended for two years, however, death sentences are often commuted to life imprisonment in China. Zhang was also deprived of his political rights for life and had his property confiscated.

His deputy Su Shunhu was found guilty of taking bribes worth more than 24m yuan and jailed for life.

Once a very powerful department, China's railways ministry was dismantled in March last year.

It came after two high-speed trains collided in 2011, killing 40 people. The incident led to a probe into the industry and many officials were charged with corruption and abuse of power.

China has the world's longest network of high-speed rail lines with more than 10,000km (6,200 miles) of track.

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