» 08/19/2010, 00.00
Shenzhen mayor stripped of all functions for taking bribes and leading a “corrupt life”
The city’s former top man took advantage of his office to make profits for others, and get favours in return. The mayor’s political aide Chen Shaoji was arrested in 2009 and sentenced to death last month, but the execution was put on hold. Despite sermons from Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao on Party ethics, a young girl says she wants to become a “corrupt official” when she grows up.
Shenzhen (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Disgraced former Shenzhen mayor Xu Zongheng has been stripped of his Communist Party membership and official position, paving the way for his prosecution on corruption charges.
The Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection completed the official procedures yesterday to remove Xu from all his posts for "severe violations of discipline and the law”.
The party’s anti-corruption watchdog found that Xu had abused his office to make profits for others, accepted large amounts of money in return and led a "corrupt life". It also ruled that his illegal earnings would be confiscated and that his case would be transferred to the courts for prosecution.
Xu, 55, became the mayor of Shenzhen, China’s top industrial and technological hub, in 2005. His career came to a crashing end in April 2009 when his top political aide, Chen Shaoji, was arrested on corruption charges. Last month, Chen was sentenced to death, but the execution was suspended.
Last year, Xu also lost his seat as a member of the National People’s Congress, mainland China’s parliament.
Corruption is a cancer that is eating away at China’s political life. In a country where the state controls 70 per cent of the economy, rampant corruption costs the state up to 3 per cent of GDP.
So serious is the crisis that in the recent past, President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao warned Communist officials that corruption could undermine the very existence of the Communist Party.
In order to stem the tide, some experts have called for greater internal party democracy to prevent corrupt members from rising to positions of power. However, the debate over the issue has bogged down. Last June, the Party did nevertheless issue new anti-corruption guidelines, which now require party members to declare all their possessions and those of their family.
As a sign of the times, the Asia Times newspaper reported on 23 September 2009 the story of a six-year-old girl in Guangzhou, who, when asked what she wanted to do when she grew up, said, “I want to become a corrupt official.” Why? “Because mama says a corrupt official can have many, many things at home”.
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Trial against Chen, former Party Chief in Shanghai, announced.
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In his homily for the Jubilee of Teens, Pope Francis asked questions and gave answers to the 70,000 present. Stressing the great ideal of love as giving oneself “without being possessive”, he noted that freedom is “being able to choose the good”. He warned young people “who dare not dream,” telling them that “If you do not dream at your age, you are already ready for retirement”. He also received funds raised for the Ukraine, and appealed for the release of bishops and the priests held in Syria.
Odd alliance between the US and Iranian fundamentalists
Washington is still preventing the use of US dollars in transactions with Iranian banks, preventing business with the outside world in spite of the nuclear deal. This way, the US is helping Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, who want to torpedo the agreement in order to maintain their hold on power. Meanwhile, most Iranians hold down two or three jobs just to make ends meet. An unstable and bellicose Iran is a boon for arms sales. A report follows.
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