Formerly high-flying Chinese officials sentenced for graft

AP News
Posted: Sep 30, 2016 4:34 AM
Formerly high-flying Chinese officials sentenced for graft

BEIJING (AP) — Two formerly high-flying Chinese provincial officials were sentenced to prison on Friday for corruption and bribe-taking, the latest targets to fall in President Xi Jinping's years-long campaign against graft at all levels of government and state industry.

The charges against Wan Qingliang and Wang Min reflect the widespread practice of exchanging cash and gifts for jobs and appointments that themselves may offer lucrative opportunities for self-enrichment through corruption.

Wan, former party boss of the southern industrial center of Guangzhou, was sentenced in the southern city of Nanning to life in prison for receiving 110 million yuan ($17 million) over a 14-year period, in exchange for arranging jobs and granting other illegal favors.

The Nanning Intermediate People's Court had said earlier that Wan was charged with taking bribes from 15 companies and individuals from 2000 to 2014, when he served in various government positions in Guangdong, one of China's most prosperous provinces of which Guangzhou is the capital.

Meanwhile, a court in the eastern city of Jingbo said Wang, the former Communist Party secretary and top official in the northern transportation hub of Jinan, was sentenced to 12 years after being found guilty of accepting 18 million yuan ($2.7 million) in bribes, either directly or through relatives, to approve real estate projects and arrange jobs and appointments.

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Additionally, 2 million yuan ($300,000) of his personal property should be confiscated, the court ruled.

It wasn't clear if either man planned to appeal, although such moves have grown rare as prosecutors sometimes go relatively lightly on defendants in exchange for their cooperation.

Xi has vowed to end corruption and government waste, although critics have accused him of using the campaign to attack political rivals. Some Chinese also complain that the drive has resulted in bureaucratic paralysis as officials refuse to perform certain standard tasks out of fear of being accused of bribe-taking.