TIANJIN, April 11 (Xinhua) -- Former Shanghai Communist Party Chief Chen Liangyu was sentenced to 18 years in jail for bribery and abuse of power on Friday in an initial trial by the Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People's Court.
The court also confiscated 300,000 yuan (about 42,860 U.S. dollars) in the personal assets of Chen, aged 61, who was also a former member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Experts said that bringing Chen to justice demonstrated the resolution of the CPC Central Committee to build a clean party, promote clean governance and fight corruption.
"Whoever it is, no matter how high their positions are, anyone who violates party rules or national law will be severely punished," the Central Committee once said in a statement.
According to court documents, from 1988 to 2006, Chen took advantage of his positions as head of the Huangpu district government, vice-mayor and mayor of Shanghai Municipal Government, as well as deputy secretary and secretary of the Shanghai CPC Municipal Committee, to seek profits for Shanghai New Huangpu Group Company (SNHGC) and Shanghai Shenhua Football Club.
Chen admitted that Wu Minglie, the former head of SNHGC, had replaced Chen's father's old home with a new one that was valued at 930,000 yuan more than the old residence, previous media reports said. Other members of Chen's family also accepted free foreign trips from Wu, the reports said.
Also, the reports said, Chen asked Yu Zhifei, the former head of the football club, to arrange a senior post for his son, Chen Weili.
Chen Weili later acted as deputy general manager of the club, for which he was paid 352,000 yuan, although he did not actually work there, the reports said.
The illicit profits consisted of fiscal subsidies or compensation for building demolition, as well as deals involving idle land or property.
Chen extorted money from or accepted bribes of more than 2.39 million yuan from organizations and individuals, the court heard. Chen urged his relatives to return all these funds after his case was uncovered.
During 2002, when Chen held the posts of acting mayor and mayor of the Shanghai Municipal Government, he made a decision in violation of the established procedures to transfer a stake in the Shanghai Road and Bridge Development Corp., which was held by Shanghai Chengtou Corp. a state-owned company, to the private-sector Shanghai Fuxi Investment Holdings.
The stake was not assessed according to procedure, which resulted in it being undervalued and transferred at a below-market price, causing an economic loss of 320 million yuan to the state.
From 2002 to 2003, while acting as the mayor of the Shanghai Municipal Government and secretary of the Shanghai CPC Municipal committee, Chen used his position to seek benefits for his brother, Chen Liangjun.
The court heard that, although he clearly knew that he brother did not meet the qualifications to develop the land, he agreed with a related department to acquire land for Chen Liangjun against the rules.
As a result, 537 mu (35.8 hectares) was acquired, including 183mu of arable land.
Chen Liangjun ultimately acquired usage rights for 354 mu of land, which caused economic losses of 344.1 million yuan to the state. Later, the court heard, Chen Liangjun resold the land use rights and illegally earned 118 million yuan.
In 2004, Chen -- then the Party Chief of Shanghai -- defied regulations to help an unidentified company obtain financing from the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Labor and Social Security, putting 1 billion yuan of the social security fund at huge risk.
The Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People's Court ruled that Chen had taken a huge amount of bribes and abused his official powers to cause great losses involving public assets, as well as to the interests of the nation and the people. It termed his crimes "hideous."
However, since he showed remorse over his bribe-taking and returned all the illicit gains, the court had shown him leniency and rendered a verdict in accordance with the law.
The court started the trial on March 25.
On July 5, 2006, the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, working with other relevant departments, launched an investigation into the reported mismanagement of the social security fund by the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Labor and Social Security.
During the investigation, Chen was suspected of having committed severe violations of party discipline. And on Aug. 24, 2006, a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee decided to conduct a preliminary verification of Chen's situation.
On Sept. 24, 2006, the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, after hearing the verification report by the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, decided to remove Chen from the post of secretary of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee and suspend him from the posts of member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and member of the CPC Central Committee.
On July 24, 2007, the Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress decided to remove Chen from his position as deputy to the 10th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.
Prior to this, the third Standing Committee of Shanghai's Huangpu District People's Congress had removed Chen from his post as deputy to the 12th Shanghai Municipal People's Congress.
After reviewing the investigation results of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, on July 26, a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee decided to expel Chen from the CPC, and dismissed him from all government posts.
"The punishment was imposed on Chen according to the CPC Constitution and Regulation of the CPC on Disciplinary and Law on Civil Servants," a statement of the Central Committee said then.
Chen's case was then handed over to prosecutors.
The decision to expell Chen from the Party was endorsed on Oct.12 by the Seventh Plenary Session of the 16th CPC Central Committee.
Chen was "morally decadent," a statement of the CPC Central Committee once said, adding that he took advantage of his post to "philander" and traded power for sexual favors.
Chen was born in October 1946 in Ningbo city, east China's Zhejiang Province and joined the CPC in April 1980.
He became secretary of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee and member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in 2002.
CPC Central Committee plenum endorses to expel Chen Liangyu from party
BEIJING, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Seventh Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Friday endorsed the decision made by the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee of expelling former Shanghai party chief Chen Liangyu from the CPC.
The meeting reviewed and approved the investigation report on the case of Chen, former secretary of CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee, handed over by the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI). Full story