Nearly 5,000 higher-level Chinese officials punished since Nov. 2007 2008-12-26 15:49:05   Print

    BEIJING, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- A disciplinary official said Friday that 4,960 Chinese officials above the county head level were punished during the year ended in November.

    The officials were involved in corruption, bribery, acting against the public interest and other breaches of discipline or the law, Gan Yisheng, deputy head of the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, told a press conference. Of the total, 801 were prosecuted, he said.

    Gan said discipline inspection and supervision departments at various levels settled 144,000 cases that led to penalties for 151,000 officials.

    Losses of 6.09 billion yuan (889.6 million U.S. dollars) were recovered through anti-corruption efforts, he added.

    The official vowed to step up anti-graft efforts and "win trust from the people with actual results."

    He said cases implicating officials above the county head level and those concerning violations of political discipline, commercial bribery, dereliction of duty and serious infringement of public interest would be severely dealt with.

    Gan named several prominent figures who had been penalized for corruption, including former Beijing vice mayor Liu Zhihua and Chen Tonghai, former general manager of the China Petroleum and Chemical Group (Sinopec), one of the country's largest state companies.

    Liu, 59, was given in October a death penalty with a two-year reprieve for taking bribes of about 6.97 million yuan (1.02 million U.S. dollars).

    Chen, also the Sinopec Party chief, was expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) in January and charged with taking bribes to help others make unlawful profits.

    "Serious corruption cases like those of Liu and Chen exposed the loopholes in China's legal systems," said Huang Zongliang, a professor of politics from Peking University.

    He urged beefed up supervision from the government and the general public to curb corruptions.

    The case involving Huang Songyou, former vice president of the Supreme People's Court, was still "under investigation", Gan said.

    He declined to give more information but promised to announce the result after the probe was completed.

    Huang was removed from his post on Oct. 28 by Chinese lawmakers at a bi-monthly session.

    The reason for his removal was not made public.

    Huang, now 51, is a native of south China's Guangdong Province. He became vice president of the Supreme People's Court in 2002.

    Responding to questions concerning officials refusing to come back from overseas tours, Yao Zengke, vice minister of supervision, told the press conference that the government would step up the supervision of officials' passports and their departures outside the country.

    A party official,Yang Xianghong, in east China's Zhejiang Province overstayed a 12-day European tour in September on claims that he had to stay there for medical treatment. The incident was highly publicized.

    Yao added that the establishment of a screening process and pre-warning mechanisms against corrupt officials fleeing overseas was also in deliberation.

Editor: Chris
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