07/23/2011, 00.00
CHINA
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Former Chinese executive gets death penalty for bribes worth US$ 1.15 million

The sentence could be commuted to life in prison after two years of good behaviour. Zhang Chunjiang, 53, is former vice president at China Mobile and the China Mobile Communications Corp and was closely connected to the Communist Party.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A former executive at China Mobile Ltd, the world's biggest mobile carrier by subscriber accounts, was found guilty of taking about US$ 1.15 million in bribes. A court in northern China's Hebei province gave Zhang Chunjiang, 53, a suspended death sentence, which could be commuted to life in prison after two years of good behaviour.

Zhang Chunjiang, a former vice chairman at Hong Kong-listed China Mobile and former vice president at the company's state-owned parent, China Mobile Communications Corp, took 7.46 million yuan (US$ 1.15 million) in bribes between 1994 and 2009, a period in which he served as a senior telecom official in Liaoning province.

The charges against him also included helping bribers with receiving business contracts and "recovering debts."

China's leaders have repeatedly vowed to eradicate corruption, which represents a potential threat to economic growth as well as a source of public discontent. But their efforts appear to have had limited effect in a country where the ruling Communist Party is essentially the only arbiter of officials' conduct and where those who take bribe often have ties with the party.

Before being accused of corruption, Mr Zhang was also head of the powerful Communist Party committee at China Mobile's state-owned parent.

Like in other cases involving top figures, the details of Mr Zhang’s crimes have not been made public. Ordinary Chinese have been kept in the dark with regards to the extent of the web of corruption in which Zhang was involved.
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