BEIJING, July 31 (Xinhua) -- China has so far punished a total of 416 civil servants amid a national move against commercial bribery which began in the middle of last year, said a senior official with the leading group on anti-commercial bribery under the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) here Monday.
Among the officials, 49 are city-level and 367 county-level ones, said Li Yufu, deputy director of the leading group, at a news conference which is CPC's first ever to tell the public information on its latest fruits of combating commercial bribery.
He said 1,603 cases were related to state workers, taking up to 23 percent of the total, with 508 million yuan (63.5 million U.S. dollars) of illicit money involved.
In comparison, Li said, China tackled 6,972 commercial bribery cases during the period, involving 1.963 billion yuan (about 245 million U.S. dollars).
The cases mainly existed in fields of construction, land acquisition, ownership transfer of state-owned enterprises, government procurement, medicine purchasing and selling, resources development, bank lending, trade in securities and futures, commercial insurance, publishing industry, telecommunication industry, electric power industry, sports industry and environmental protection.
Statistics from the office of the leading group show that as the easy area of commercial bribery, the fields witnessed 5,480 or 78.6 percent of the country's total in the period.
The amounts of the commercial briberies taken in the 15 key cases unveiled in the conference ranged from 560,000 to 10.73 million yuan (70,000 to 1.34 million U.S. dollars) and 15 were sentenced more than 10 years in jail.
Wen Mengjie, former head of the technology division under the Beijing branch of the Agricultural Bank of China, raked 10.73 million yuan (about 1.34 million U.S. dollars) from equipment and software providers and illicitly seized 4.32 million yuan (540,000 U.S. dollars) of public money.
He was sentenced to death in July, 2006, and the ruling is now undergoing a routine review at the Supreme Court.
Zhang Quan, former deputy director of the Department of Communications of north China's Hebei province, was charged with taking 1.80 million yuan (225,000 U.S. dollars) in bribery and sentenced 14 years in jail in June, 2006.
Chinese courts have chosen a strong stance against the rising tide of commercial bribery cases and is working to form a "high pressure" circumstance against it, said Xiong Xuanguo, vice president of China's Supreme Court, at the conference.
But related trials, he said, will be strictly in accordance with what is written down in the criminal code and adhere to the principle of combining lenity with severity.
"We will also work to prevent any trend of exaggeration when handling such cases," he said.
Commercial bribery, Li said, has grown into one of the foes against China's development since it has provided a hotbed for power-money trade and other types of corruption.
"It undermines both the social ethics and the construction of a harmonious society," he said.
More supervision and restrictions on power should be adopted and intensified to a larger degree to prevent power abuse, he said.
"This is one of the core parts of China's anti commercial bribery strategy," he said. Enditem