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State broadcaster CCTV showed Mrs. Gu dressed in a white blouse and black pantsuit briefly addressing the court from inside the dock surrounded by waist-high wooden columns.

“This verdict is just. It shows special respect for the law, reality and life,” Mrs. Gu said in calm, measured phrases.

The sentencing moves China one step closer to resolving its biggest political crisis in two decades that exposed divisions within the leadership and threatened to complicate plans for Vice President Xi Jinping to succeed Hu Jintao as top leader at a party congress expected in October.