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Chinese party cadre jailed for taking bribes

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September 12, 2013 05:54 AM EST | AP

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BEIJING — A court in southern China sentenced a former Communist Party cadre who gained notoriety last year for amassing a large number of properties to 11 years and 6 months in prison on Thursday.

Cai Bin, formerly a party official at a local urban management bureau, was convicted of taking 2.75 million yuan ($450,000) in bribes, and the illegal gains were turned over to the state treasury, the party-run People's Daily said on its news site.

Investigations against Cai began after online reports alleged Cai and his family owned 22 properties and questioned how a government official could afford them in a country where a working family struggles to buy one apartment in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

China's web users gave Cai the nickname "Uncle House," and a following online movement exposed several more government officials with excessive real estate holdings, including a bank official who had 41 properties in Beijing.

Members of the Chinese public have resorted to the Internet, especially social media, to expose corruption, but Chinese authorities are wary of having to respond to public demands.