A Chinese court says a former top leader of China's prosperous southern city of Guangzhou has confessed to taking $17 million in bribes.

The Nanning Intermediate People's Court said Friday that Wan Qingliang was charged with taking the bribes from 15 companies and individuals from 2000 to 2014, when he served in various government positions in Guangdong.

Wan last served as the party chief for Guangzhou, one of the most prosperous cities in China. As the party chief, he ranked above the mayor and was the city's top leader.

He came under investigation in 2014 amid a widening anti-corruption campaign launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he came into power in early 2013. Xi has warned that corruption threatens the Communist Party's rule over China.