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Corrupt officials seized and punished
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-03-10 01:49

The courts dealt with a higher number of corruption cases involving government employers at all levels last year as China tightened the screw on graft.

Six officials of the Chuandong Drilling Company under the Sichuan Petroleum Administration on trial in Chongqing No 2 Intermediate People's Court, in this file picture taken on July 14, 2004. China's top justice Xiao Yang and top prosecutor Jia Chunwang yesterday said the legal system will increase the crackdown on corruption and other crimes this year. [China Daily]
The courts heard 24,184 job-related cases in 2004 5.2 per cent more than in 2003, the country's top justice revealed in his annual work report, given to the ongoing NPC session yesterday.

Among the sentenced were 772 government officials in county-level positions or higher who were found guilty of corruption.

"Six held provincial and ministerial offices," Xiao Yang, president of the Supreme People's Court, said.

The convicted high-ranking government officials included Liu Fangren, former secretary of Communist Party of China (CPC) Guizhou Provincial Committee, and Zhang Guoguang, former deputy secretary of CPC Hubei Provincial Committee and governor of the province.

Liu was sentenced to life imprisonment and Zhang was jailed for 11 years.

Xiao said the top court handled 400 cases involving endangering state security, fraud, money counterfeiting, smuggling, drug trafficking and corruption in the past 12 months.

In a separate report, the top prosecutor confirmed 11 officials at provincial and ministerial level were investigated for corruption charges last year.

Jia Chunwang, procurator-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the body responsible for authorizing arrests and prosecution, said the 11 were among 2,960 officials at or above county-level probed on charges of taking bribery, graft or diversion of public funds.

"We have strengthened the co-operation with the international justice forces. We also seized 641 major job-related crime suspects, who had absconded abroad with a large sum of money," Jia said.

He added the country's prosecutors dealt with 1,275 corruption cases last year 4.9 per cent more than the previous year.

Resolute measures

Jia said the prosecutors had "resolutely investigated" crimes that attract most public attention, including corruption in infrastructure construction, housing and medicine trading.

"We have investigated 2,892 governmental officials whose dereliction of duty have caused serious work safety accidents in traffic, mine and environment pollution," said Jia.

According to an online survey conducted by Xinhua News Agency on the topics Chinese people are most concerned about during the NPC session this year, a quarter of the 40,000 respondents said "anti-corruption" was of great concern.

Both court and prosecutorial leaders also vowed to put more efforts in the building of and far-reaching affect of grass-roots courts and procuratorates this year.

In order to build a more fair trial system for China, Xiao Yang, the chief justice of the top court, said, "the judges all over the country should lift their political awareness, trail ability and discipline observation."

Xiao said the supervision of the judges' judicial work should be enhanced so as to overcome bad practice when carrying out their legal duty.

Sun Pishu, an NPC deputy from East China's Shandong Province, said he would like to see more investment in the construction of grass-roots courts and procuratorates.

"They are the major bodies to realize the justice of the judicial system and the justice of society for the general public," Sun said.

He added: "They are also the major force for the implementation of the goal of establishing a harmonious society."

Sun said, however, "corruptive practices exist among some grass-roots court employees, and violations against the law take place from time to time, which have greatly undermined the reputation of court and judges."

He added: "A harmonious society needs fair grass-roots courts and procuratorates and a group of staff of high quality."

"The court work reports were detailed and talked about more problems than achievements," said Li Daomin, the chief of the Henan Provincial High People's Court.

(China Daily 03/10/2005 page1)

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