CONFLICTS

Ex-leader of northern Chinese province sentenced for graft

In this March 7, 2014 photo, Zhou Benshun speaks during a group session of the National People's Congress in Beijing, China. Zhou, former Communist Party chief of the major northern Chinese province of Hebei, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison on corruption charges, a court announced Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017 as President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign continues to claim high-profile targets. (Chinatopix via AP)

In this March 7, 2014 photo, Zhou Benshun speaks during a group session of the National People's Congress in Beijing, China. Zhou, former Communist Party chief of the major northern Chinese province of Hebei, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison on corruption charges, a court announced Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017 as President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign continues to claim high-profile targets. (Chinatopix via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A Chinese court has sentenced the former Communist Party chief of the major northern Chinese province of Hebei to 15 years in prison on corruption charges.

The Intermediate People's Court in the southeastern port city of Xiamen handed down the sentence to Zhou Benshun on Wednesday, saying it also confiscated 2 million yuan ($300,000) of his personal assets.

It said Zhou, 64, abused his position for personal gain while serving as the top official in the province just outside Beijing and in lower level jobs between 2000 and 2015. It said he and his relatives had scooped up a total of more than 40 million yuan ($5.8 million) in bribes and kickbacks resulting from real estate and construction deals, safety approvals, bank loans and work promotions.