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China Focus: China vows harsher punishment for corruption, terrorism
Posted: March-13-2015Adjust font size:

BEIJING, March 12 (Xinhua) --Chinese authorities would intensify campaigns against social ills ranging from corruption and terrorism to environmental pollution and wrongful convictions, according to work reports of two judicial bodies delivered Thursday to the top legislature.

Targeting high-ranking "tigers" in China's anti-corruption drive, prosecutors investigated 28 officials at the provincial or ministerial level and higher for corruption last year, a sharp rise from eight in 2013, said Cao Jianming, procurator-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP), in his report at the annual session of the National People's Congress.

The 28 officials included Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and Xu Caihou, former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission.

From 2008 to 2012, a total of 30 officials at the provincial or ministerial level and higher faced investigation for corruption or other job-related crimes, according to Cao's report delivered in 2013.

In campaigns to combat lower level "flies," prosecutors probed 3,664 cases of graft, bribery and embezzlement of public funds involving more than 1 million yuan (164,000 U.S. dollars) last year. A total of 4,040 public servants at county level and above, including 589 at and above city or bureau level, were investigated.

A total of 55,101 people were investigated for duty-related crimes in 41,487 cases, an annual increase of 7.4 percent in the number of people, according to the report.

The work report of the Supreme People's Court (SPC), delivered by chief justice Zhou Qiang, showed that Chinese courts in 2014 convicted and punished 44,000 criminals in 31,000 cases of embezzlement and bribery, including severe cases such as Liu Tienan, former deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, and Li Daqiu, a former senior political advisor in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

"Corrupt criminals shall be severely punished according to the law no matter how high their positions are and how powerful they are," Zhou Qiang said.

The SPP had the resolution to fight every corruption and punish every corrupt official, focusing on duty-related crimes committed by leading officials in key positions, Cao said.

Judicial authorities would strengthen fight against and prevention of duty-related crimes and commercial bribery in fields including food and drug administration, environmental protection, work safety, land sales, exploitation of mining resources and reforms of state-owned enterprises, according to the reports.

In line with lawmakers' proposal of imposing harsher punishment for those giving bribes to staff of state organs to pursue illegitimate interests, judicial organs handled more cases of such crimes last year.

A total of 7,827 bribers were prosecuted for criminal offenses, up 37.9 percent from the previous year, according to the SPP report, while the SPC report showed 2,394 people were convicted for offering bribes last year, up 12.1 percent from the previous year.

Authorities also pledged "zero tolerance" to judicial corruption which had raised public complaints these years.

Procuratorates investigated and punished 404 staff within their own system last year while 2,108 court officials were punished for violating disciplines and laws, according to the two reports, which vowed to "eradicate black sheep" in the judicial organs.


The chief justice noted ever-growing threats from terrorism and separatism and vowed severe punishments for offenders.

According to Zhou, Chinese courts convicted 712 people for instigating secessionist activities or participating in violent terrorist attacks in 2014, representing a year-on-year increase of 13.3 percent.

Overall, courts in China concluded some 1.02 million first trials in criminal cases last year and convicted 1.18 million people.

"We will actively participate in the fight against terrorism and secessionism, severely punish violent terrorist crimes according to the law, and severely punish all types of crimes that gravely endanger the safety of the people," Zhou said.

Violence and terrorism have been on the rise in China over recent years. Three people were killed and 39 others injured when a sports utility vehicle plowed into crowds near the Tian'anmen Square in the heart of Beijing on Oct. 28, 2013.

On March 1 last year, knife-wielding assailants killed 31 people and injured 141 others at a train station in Yunnan' s provincial capital Kunming.

"We will resolutely safeguard national security, ethnic unity and social stability," Zhou said, adding that the courts have meted out harsh punishments to the suspects of the Tian'anmen and Kunming attacks according to the law.


The country is also working with international counterparts to block "the last route of retreat" for corrupt officials.

Procurator-General Cao said Chinese prosecutors seized 749 fleeing corrupt suspects from both home and abroad last year.

Among them, 49 suspects were captured or were persuaded to turn themselves in from 17 countries and regions including the United States and Canada, Cao said.

"We will actively advance efforts to have fugitive suspects repatriated and recover their illegal proceeds of corruption," the top prosecutor said. "The corrupt shall never be allowed to get away with the law."

This has followed the success of a Fox Hunt 2014 operation launched in July to bring back crooked officials still at large.

According to Cao, the SPP would explore ways to confiscate illegal gains of corrupt officials so that they could "never profit economically from their illegitimate deeds."


The chief justice expressed self-reproach for wrongful convictions and urged fellow judges to draw lessons from them.

In 2014, courts nationwide reheard 1,317 cases and corrected a number of wrongful ones, including a high-profile rape-murder case in 1996, in which an 18-year-old man named Huugjilt was wrongfully convicted, Zhou said.

Cao Jianming also stressed in his report that preventing wrongful convictions was a bottom line that prosecutors must always hold.

Prosecutors should work to stop a case "tainted" by unclear facts, lack of evidence or unlawful procedure, from going to the court, Cao said.

They were asked to pay special attention to murder cases and others that are mainly established on confession and witness statement.


China's judicial departments played more harshly against polluters in 2014.

The number of pollution-related criminal cases increased by 8.5 times in 2014, according to the work report of the SPC.

Civil cases about damage of pollution increased by 51 percent year on year.

About 25,800 people were charged with crimes such as damaging the environment, illegal logging and illegal farming on grassland in 2014, up 23 percent over the previous year.

Cao said the SPP would engage prosecutors more in environment litigation for public interest this year.

Experts believe the participation of prosecutors in environment litigation for public interest was not only a deterrence to polluters but also a judicial supervision on abuse of power or malfeasance.

Source: xinhua 2015-03-12Editor: tracyliu
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