08/26/2010, 00.00
CHINA

Death penalty for Zheng Shaodong, corrupt head of anti-corruption force

The former director of investigations into economic crimes, received bribes for 83 million Yuan. Suspended death sentence. Experts: to fight corruption greater protection of civil rights of citizens needed.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Zheng Shaodong, former head of the Economic Criminal Investigation Bureau, was sentenced to death for corruption and abuse of office, with a suspended sentence. China is failing it its battle to stamp out corruption, widespread at every level in the Communist Party, despite leaders proclamations of zero tolerance.

The Intermediate People's Court of Xian (Shaanxi) sentenced Zheng for having  accepted about 83 million Yuan between 2001 and 2007 (about 8.3 million euros) in exchange for favours such as illegal cover-ups of investigations and help in obtaining jobs and promotions. The sum is enormous and the death sentence was suspended because Zheng admitted guilt and returned the money. After two years of good conduct, the sentence can be commuted.

Zheng Xiang and his deputy Huaizhu (sentenced in July to 12 years in prison) were arrested in January 2009. In his work, Zheng participated in the investigation of major corruption cases like the one against the former president of the National People's Committee of Guangdong Chen Shaoji, sentenced to death in July, with a suspended sentence. Or the one against Huang Songyou, vice-president of Supreme People's Court sentenced to life imprisonment in January for corruption.

His story is also serious because it shows how widespread corruption is in the country, even among high ranking officials. Analysts say that in the fight against corruption convictions are not sufficient, but more space should give to the complaints of citizens and media as well as an adequate protection against the civil rights abuses of dishonest officials.
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