Former STMA Official Gets Life in Prison

    Zhao Hongshun, former deputy head of the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration (STMA), was sentenced to life imprisonment, deprived of political rights for life and had all his personal property confiscated on June 18 for taking bribes worth more than RMB90 million ($12.7 million), according to a news release issued by The Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China.

    The Huai’an Intermediate People’s Court in East China’s Jiangsu province issued the verdict, saying the money involved in Zhao’s case will be turned over to the state treasury. Zhao said in court he would not appeal.

    According to the complaint, Zhao took advantage of his positions, including that of deputy director and deputy head of the economic operation department of the STMA and deputy director of the Anhui Provincial Tobacco Monopoly Administration, to assist individuals and companies in contracts related to the printing of cigarette labels, tobacco advertising business and personal promotion from 2002 to 2018.

    Zhao was placed under investigation by China’s top graft watchdogs in February 2019. He was expelled from the communist party and removed from public positions and arrested in July. In September 2019, Zhao was charged with bribery.