State-run media says the man who was once considered China's top fugitive went on trial Friday after battling deportation from Canada for a decade.
The Xinhua news agency says the trial of Lai Changxing began in Xiamen city in eastern Fujian province, where he is accused of running a $10 billion smuggling ring that handled everything from cigarettes to cars and oil before fleeing to Canada in 1999.
Chinese officials also accuse Lai, who was deported from Canada last July, of bribing dozens of officials. He has long insisted the charges against him were politically motivated.
Canada said it got assurances from China that Lai would not be executed. Canada does not have a death penalty and will not extradite people who face possible execution.