CONFLICTS

Aide to China's former leader gets life in prison for bribes

  • FILE - In this March 14, 2012, file photo, Ling Jihua, a aide and confidante to President Hu Jintao, stands during the closing ceremony of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Ling was sentenced Monday, July 4, 2016, to life in prison for taking bribes, illegally obtaining state secrets and abusing powers in a downfall set off by an alleged cover-up of his son's death in a speeding Ferrari. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

    FILE - In this March 14, 2012, file photo, Ling Jihua, a aide and confidante to President Hu Jintao, stands during the closing ceremony of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Ling was sentenced Monday, July 4, 2016, to life in prison for taking bribes, illegally obtaining state secrets and abusing powers in a downfall set off by an alleged cover-up of his son's death in a speeding Ferrari. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this March 14, 2012, file photo, Ling Jihua, a aide and confidante to President Hu Jintao, stands during the closing ceremony of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Ling was sentenced Monday, July 4, 2016, to life in prison for taking bribes, illegally obtaining state secrets and abusing powers in a downfall set off by an alleged cover-up of his son's death in a speeding Ferrari. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

    FILE - In this March 14, 2012, file photo, Ling Jihua, a aide and confidante to President Hu Jintao, stands during the closing ceremony of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Ling was sentenced Monday, July 4, 2016, to life in prison for taking bribes, illegally obtaining state secrets and abusing powers in a downfall set off by an alleged cover-up of his son's death in a speeding Ferrari. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)  (The Associated Press)

The top aide to former Chinese president Hu Jintao has been sentenced to life in prison on convictions of taking bribes, illegally obtaining state secrets and abusing powers.

The official Xinhua News Agency said a Tianjin court delivered the verdict Monday against Ling Jihua after trials held behind closed doors, apparently because the case involved state secrets. He was formally indicted in May.

Ling headed the ruling's Communist Party's general office under Hu, a position comparable to chief of staff to the U.S. president. Ling was considered a consummate political insider.

Ling fell out of political favor in 2012, just ahead of a once-in-decade power transition, when he was allegedly involved in the cover-up of his son's death in a speeding Ferrari.

He came under investigation in late 2014.