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Former Kunming deputy mayor sentenced to life in prison

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In remote Yunnan province, as the old saying goes, "The mountains are high and the emperor far away" - evidently not far enough away for a former Kunming deputy mayor and provincial transport official who has been sentenced to life in prison for bribery.

Hu Xing (胡星) left Kunming during an investigation into possible wrongdoing earlier this year before being captured in Singapore in February and extradited back to China. This morning at the Kunming Municipal Intermediate People's Court, Hu was found guilty of taking more than 40 million yuan (US$5.3 million) in bribes while serving as deputy director of Yunnan's Transportation Bureau and Kunming Deputy Mayor from 1995 to 2006.

Hu was responsible for roads and transport during his time in the Transportation Bureau. During his tenure as Kunming deputy mayor he oversaw construction and city planning. Today, Hu's legacy is visible throughout the city as Kunming is faced with serious traffic congestion, much of which is arguably owing to a road network that has failed to keep up with a growing number of motorized vehicles.

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I wonder - if a captured corrupt official returns the balance of bribes, stolen or embezzled funds, do they get life in prison - as the returned funds will amply cover the imprisonment expenses (guards, healthcare, food, lodging, clothes, laundry, etc)?

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