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China prosecutes 30,788 officials in 2004
Updated: 2005-03-09 11:36

Chinese procuratorates at various levels investigated 43,757 government officials for job-related crimes last year, said Jia Chunwang, procurator-general of China's Supreme People's Court, on Wednesday.

China prosecutes 30,788 officials in 2004
Jia Chunwang, procurator-general of China's Supreme People's Court, delivers his annual work report. [Xinhua] 
Among the investigated government employees, 35,031 involved in crimes concerning corruption, bribe-taking and embezzlement of public funds, and 8,726 probed for dereliction of duties and abuse of power.

The procuratorates prosecuted 30,788 people involving economic crimes and retrieved about 4 .56 billion yuan (555 million US dollars) in direct economic losses.
Jia said in his report that intensified efforts were made to investigate into job-related crimes in some sectors. A total of 4,414 government officials were investigated for corruption or bribe-taking in road construction, urban reconstruction, medicine purchase and land requisition, and 10,407 employees of state-owned enterprises (SOE) were probed for embezzling public funds during SOE-related reforms.

The procuratorates also extend their reaches to 9,476 administrative and judicial personnel for charges of power abuse, dereliction of duties and taking bribes. a total of 2,892 government leading officials were chastised for major malpractice
leading to grim traffic, coal mine and environmental pollution accidents, Jia said.

Chinese procuratorates approve arrest of 811,102 criminal suspects last year

Chinese procuratorates at various levels approved the arrest of 811,102 criminal suspects of various kinds in 2004 and prosecuted 867,186, up 8.3 percent and 9.3 percent respectively year-on-year, said Jia.

He described last year's security situation as being still " grave" in his report and said continuous efforts have been made to crack down crimes such as those involving serious violence and endangering national security.

China arrests 20,425 suspects for economic crimes in 2004

Chinese procuratorates have approved the arrest of 20,425 suspects for economic crimes last year, up 6.3 percent on a year-on-year basis, said Jia.

21,440 suspects were prosecuted on charges such as smuggling, tax evasion and dodging, and financial fraud, up 3.4 percent year-on-year.

Eleven high-ranking officials investigated for criminal charges in 2004

Eleven officials at provincial or ministerial level were investigated for corruption charges in China last year, said Jia .

The officials include Tian Fengshan, former minister of Land and Resources, Liu Fangren, former secretary of CPC (Communist Party of China) Guizhou Provincial Committee, and Zhang Guoguang, former deputy secretary of CPC Hubei Provincial Committee and governor of the province.

They were among the 2,960 officials at or above county level probed on charges of corruption, taking bribes and misuse of public funds last year, said Jia.

While the procuratorates did their utmost to dig for the hidden graft, the country's court system gave jail terms to six provincial and ministerial officials on similar charges, noted Xiao Yang, the Chief Justice and President of the Supreme People's Court, in a separate report to the NPC (National People's Congress) session, here Wednesday morning.

Their penalties range from life imprisonment, to 11 and 12 years behind bars, according to previous reports.

According to the Chief Justice, the court system, in total, penalized 772 corrupt officials and dealt with 24,184 cases involving government officials' graft, bribe-taking and other corrupt activities in 2004.

Meanwhile, 614 major official-turned suspects, who had absconded abroad, were seized, and some of them fled with a large sum of money, said Jia.

As an ever larger Chinese population enjoy the fruits of the reform drive, grumbles about miscellaneous corruption, particularly government officials' misbehavior, gradually become a cynosural factor likely to disrupt China's smooth ride on its development path.

According to an on-line survey conducted on www.xinhuanet.com concerning the topics likely to spark heated discussions before this year's sessions of NPC and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a quarter of the nearly 200,000 respondents sorted out "putting an end to corruption" as a great concern, ranking second among the 20 listed choices.

The Chinese leadership also demonstrated great concern about varied forms of corruption.

"Corruption damages the interests of the people and the close links between the Party and the people, weakens the governance base and capability of the Party, affects social stability and disturbs the general situation of reform, development and stability," said Wen at a recent State Council meeting.

To assuage discontent with the behind-the-curtain trading, the central authorities have made a range of moves to curb corruption and boost popular confidence in government during recent years.

In last year's NPC session, Premier Wen Jiabao vowed to take high-handed measures against graft in his government work report, evoking a noticeably long and stormy applause from the 2000-strong lawmakers.

The central authorities have tried utmost to live up to the anti-graft promises.
Last year, the CPC discipline watchdog handled a caseload of 166,705 crimes and punished 170,850 misbehaved CPC members, including 16 provincial and ministerial officials and 432 at or above prefecture level, according to a meeting on clean government held in February.

A total of 345 procurators, 461 judges and 681 revenuers were also punished for graft charges in the same period, largely helping create an unprecedented gun-shy environment for possible corrupt activities.

To curb corruption from spreading further, the CPC Central Committee recently issued an outline for the establishment of an anti-corruption work mechanism that serves to punish and prevent corrupt activities by CPC members.

According to a schedule set by the outline, a basic framework for the mechanism should be installed by 2010 and a long-term education system, power-operation supervision system and a mechanism-based anti-corruption system will be completed later.

China prosecutes 1,595 state personnel on charges related to human rights abuses

China prosecuted a total of 1,595 people working for state organs on charges related to human rights abuse last year, up 13.3 percent from a year ago, said Jia.

"The procuratorial organs have seriously implement the rule of respect and protect human rights set in the Constitution, and have strengthened the concept and measures in their fight against criminals and in protection of the people," said Jia.

The Supreme People's Procuratorate established two hotlines last June to hear reports of job-related human rights violations, a major target of China's procuratorates from May 2004 to June 2005.

Human rights violations by state organs are defined by the procuratorate as dereliction of duty that causes serious life and property losses, illegal detention and search of people, extorting confessions and collecting evidence by violence, sabotaging elections and infringing on civil rights of citizens, and maltreating detainees.

China's chief procurator took a specialized action last year to investigate into human rights infringement cases by personnel of state organs.

"A total number of 1,595 state personnel were investigated on charges related to human rights abuse and handled accordingly, up 13.3 percent," he said. "The Supreme People's Procuratorate put the handling of a total 82 major cases under its direct supervision."

The chief procurator stressed the state procuratorial organs have also strengthened the examination of evidence and listening to explanations of the suspects and opinions of lawyers when making approval of arrest and making prosecution in a bid to reduce cases of wrong arrest and prosecution.

China has been beefing up efforts in human rights protection. The amendments to the Constitution, adopted by China's top legislature in March this year, stipulate that "the state respects and safeguards human rights."

A host of government officials punished or convicted last year for abusing their power to violate human rights, including officials responsible for rampant sales of shoddy milk powder for babies in east China's Anhui Province and officials responsible for the stampede accident in Beijing's suburban Miyun County.

2,505 arrested for making, marketing life-threatening fake products

China arrested a total of 2,505 suspects last year for making or marketing fake or shoddy goods that pose serious threat to the people's life and property, up 56. 9 percent from a year ago, said Jia.

China also prosecuted a total of 2,124 suspects, up 56.2 percent, on making or marketing fake or shoddy products ranging from powdered milk, alcohol, pharmaceuticals, fertilizer and pesticide, said Jia.

In addition, the country's procuratorate organs approved arrests of 602 suspects on charge of infringement of registered trademarks, patents and copyrights, and prosecuted 638 suspects on the same charges, up 13.4 percent and 6.3 percent respectively from a year ago.

The making and marketing of fake and fraudulent commodities and the infringement on intellectual property rights (IPR) have caused increasing attention in the country. The government has vowed to step up efforts to crack down.

China launched a one-year-long campaign from last September to crack down on IPR infringements. In two months following the action, Chinese police investigated more than 1,000 cases related to IPR infringement, involving 550 million yuan (about 66.5 million US dollars), according to official figures.

In addition, Chinese administrative authorities handled more than 9,800 IPR-related cases and confiscated more 10 billion pieces of fake goods.

Wu Yi, vice-premier of China, told US officials and business people in a meeting last January that China is resolved to protect IPR.

"Turning a blind eye to IPR infringement is a short-sighted act, " Wu said at a meeting last year. "Such acts will not only seriously undermine market economic order and hamper China's economic growth, but also ruin the prestige and image of the country and influence China's future opening-up."

In an effort to step up the protection of IPR, the NPC adopted a legal interpretation of the criminal penalty on IPR infringement at the end of 2004. The interpretation greatly lowered the benchmark for criminal punishment and provided more effective means in the fight against IPR violation.

As a major event in the fight against shoddy and inferior products, China detained 47 people last May for an inferior milk powder incident, in which at least 12 babies died of malnutrition after being fed with substandard milk powder made of starch, sugar, milk essence and other cheap ingredients.

China will continue cracking down on fake and shoddy goods for farming use this year, Minister of Agriculture Du Qinglin pledged last week as the country is entering the spring plowing period and farmers are busy preparing farming materials like fertilizers, pesticides and seeds.

According to Du, his ministry and several other ministries of the Chinese government will jointly launch a thorough check of the market, focusing on seed strains, pesticides, fertilizers, fodder and animal medicines.

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