Death penalty for ‘godfather’ of Chinese coal mining town

Zhang Zhongsheng, the former vice-mayor of a poverty-stricken city in China’s Shanxi province, was sentenced to death, without reprieve, for accepting over 1 billion yuan (US$160 million) in bribes.

Zhang was known for his hilltop mansions and dubbed the “godfather” because of his influence in the city of Luliang. His sentence was an unusually harsh punishment for economic crimes, even since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012 and began an unprecedented crackdown on corruption.