04/24/2008, 00.00
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A Communist anti-corruption official in Hunan Province on trial for taking bribes

The head of the Communist Party Discipline Inspection Commission in Chenzhou is accused of taking millions of yuan in bribes for assessments, mining licences and “fixing” court cases. A briber tells his story.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The trial of Zeng Jinchun, the former head of the Communist Party's Discipline Inspection Commission in Chenzhou (Hunan province), began yesterday. He is accused of unlawfully amassing 31.52 million yuan (US$ 5 million) between 1997 and 2006 when he was responsible for all assessments and approvals for mining licences within the city's jurisdiction.

“The most corrupted disciplinary secretary in China” is what the indictment papers said about his. He, along with his wife, son and daughter, is alleged to have taken bribes from 45 people who wanted construction contracts, mine contracts, career promotions and help in resolving disputes. He also stockpiled wealth by meddling in the legal proceedings of economic cases.

Press reports indicate that Wang Wenhan, a Chenzhou entrepreneur, paid him 60,000 yuan to oil the wheels of justice in Yizhang County Court in a dispute with another company.

“When his demand was not met, he ordered the detention of four top officials from the court, including the court president,” Wang said. “As a result, the acting head of the court sent me a court verdict very quickly. According to the verdict, I won more than 1.7 million yuan in compensation from the opposing company,” Wang added.

Corruption, especially at the local level, is one of China’s main problems despite attempts by Chinese leaders to enforce ‘zero tolerance.’

For some analysts the centralised system of government, which recognises little or no autonomy to judges and administrators, favours abuses of the type.

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