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Former China Railways Minister on Trial for Corruption

China's former railways minister, Liu Zhijun, attends a trial for charges of corruption and abuse of power at a courthouse in Beijing in this still image taken from video dated June 9, 2013.
China's former railways minister has gone on trial charged with bribery and abuse of power.

The official Xinhua news agency reports that ex-minister Liu Zhijun stood trial in a court in Beijing on Sunday. The short dispatch gave no further details except to say a verdict would be announced at a later date.

Liu was fired from his post in 2011 for unspecified "severe violations" of discipline. State media had previously accused him of taking large bribes and illegally awarding contracts to associates.

Liu led the expansion of China's bullet train network, which is now the world's largest. The hugely expensive project has been plagued by debt problems and criticized for sacrificing safety for the sake of speed.

Criticism of the rail network intensified after two high-speed trains collided in 2011 in the eastern city of Wenzhou, killing 40 people.

Last month, China said it was dismantling and separating the duties of the railway ministry, which had faced corruption allegations and been burdened with massive amounts of debt.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said fighting corruption is a top priority for his administration.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.