Updated 8:44 AM EDT, Wed, Aug 18, 2021

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Zhou Yongkang: China's Former Security Chief Sentenced to Life in Prison

 Zhou Yongkang Sentenced

(Photo : Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images) Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the nine-seat Politburo Standing Committee, has been sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty of corruption, abuse of office and disclosing state secrets.

China's former Chief of the Ministry of Public Security, Zhou Yongkang, has been given a life sentence after he was found guilty of abusing his office, bribery and deliberately disclosing national secrets.

Xinhua reports that 72-year-old Zhou, who was once a member of the incumbent Communist Party's highest decision making body - the Politburo Standing Committee - pleaded guilty at a secret trial in  the northern port city of Tianjin.

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Zhou, who was considered one of the most feared men in China, reportedly told the judge that he would not appeal against the verdict because he realized the severity of his crimes and the harm it has caused his nation.

"I've realized the harm I've caused to the party and the people. I plead guilty and I regret my crimes," he said on a clip played on state TV this Thursday.

Experts say the verdict of China's Supreme People's Court is shocking and historical. It is the first time a top ranking figure of the ruling Communist Party has been convicted of corruption since 1949, when the party assumed office.

Additionally, Zhou is the most high profile official to have been convicted under President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign. President Xi has vowed the anti-corruption campaign would involve officials at all levels of the government. A number of senior Chinese officials have been placed under investigation since the anti-corruption campaign began in 2012.

Reports indicate that Zhou has since been discharged from the Communist Party. His charges were first announced in April, nine months after the government started investigating the former security chief.    Before his retirement in 2012, Zhou's is believed to have held sway over the police and the court, CNN reported.

Although many expected his trial to be open to the public as the Supreme People Court had promised in March, the trial was reportedly held in secret because the case involved the deliberate disclosure of state secrets.

According to reports, Zhou was found guilty of receiving bribes of around 130m Yuan ($21.3m, £ 13.8m), and for seven years of abusing the power of his office. He was also found guilty of intentionally releasing state secrets for four years.

BCC reports that as a consequence of the verdict, all Zhou's property have been confiscated and his political rights terminated.

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