[JURIST] A former top Chinese Communist Party official was convicted Friday of corruption and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Chen Liangyu [People's Daily profile] was found guilty of accepting bribes and abuse of power, making Chen the highest ranking official to be convicted in China's recent crackdown on corruption [JURIST news archive]. He was fired [JURIST report] in 2006 after being accused of involvement in a pension plan scandal, in which some $4.8 billion was illegally siphoned from Shanghai's pension fund.
Chinese prosecutors said last month that the number of corruption convictions against government officials has increased by 30 percent in the last five years [JURIST report]. China has taken a hard line on corruption recently, punishing several officials with lengthy prison terms and the death penalty [JURIST report]. In January, the Communist Party of China [official backgrounder] issued a list of "10 taboos" [JURIST report] for public officials as part of the government's attempt to fight corruption ahead of a reshuffling of provincial leadership posts. AFP has more.