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Aide to Chinese Ex-president Hu Jintao Gets Life Sentence

FILE - In this photo taken, Nov. 8, 2012, Ling Jihua, a loyal aide and confidante to then President Hu Jintao, attends the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China.

A former top presidential aide in China has been sentenced to life in prison for accepting bribes, illegally obtaining state secrets, and abusing his authority, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Ling Jihua said he would not appeal the decision that was delivered by the court in the northern port city of Tianjin.

Ling once led the ruling Communist Party's General office under former President Hu Jintao, a position comparable to the U.S. president's chief of staff.

Ling's political downfall began in 2012, when he was allegedly involved in the cover up of his son's death in a speeding Ferrari. The incident scandalized China partly because two scantily clad women were passengers in the car. One was injured and the other reportedly died months later.

The sentence is a setback for the Communist Party's Youth League bloc, which was a contending force behind former President Hu's successor, Xi Jinping. The bloc's leadership power has weakened since Xi took over, according to Willy Lam, an expert on Chinese politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.