07/19/2018, 18.10
CHINA
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The man who reported corrupt judges is arrested and convicted

by Wang Zhicheng

The judges were caught gambling and spending time with mistresses, which Party members are not allowed to do under the ongoing anti-corruption drive. Meanwhile, the businessman who reported them was sentenced to four years in prison and a fine of 30,000 yuan for " illegally obtaining a citizen’s personal information".

Beijing (AsiaNews) – Wu Zhengge, a property developer from Yiyang (Hunan), was sentenced to four years in prison and a fine of 30,000 yuan (US$ 4,465) for publishing pictures of judges gambling and staying with their mistresses, in order to expose corruption.

Gambling, extramarital affairs, and taking part in luxurious banquets are unacceptable behaviour for Party members since President Xi Jinping launched his fight against corruption inside the party five years ago.

For his role in exposing the judges, Wu Zhengge was convicted of violating their privacy, specifically for "illegally obtaining a citizen’s personal information".

It all started in 2014 when Wu, for reasons that are not clear, began collecting evidence about corrupt judges. When he presented it to the police, he was asked for more.

He then hired some photographers to get more proof against judges in the districts of Yiyang and Heshan.

As a result of his investigation, Wang Maohua, deputy judge of the People’s Court of Heshan District, was photographed holidaying in Guangzhou and Hainan Island with an unidentified woman, presumed to be his mistress.

Xie Deqing and Xia Xiaoying, judges from Heshan District and Yiyang City municipal courts, were caught gambling at a clubhouse. For his part, another Heshan District judge, Cao Deqin, was seen sharing a hotel room with a married woman.

These reports were picked up by local media, sparking outrage in the public already unhappy about the local judiciary. This led to an enquiry.

The disciplinary committee and Yiyang City Intermediate People’s Court suspended Wang Maohua and Cao Deqin. Xie Deqing and Xia Xiaoying were eventually charged as was Wang Maohua on corruption charges.

Xie Deqing and Wang Maohua were convicted of helping to falsify evidence in a bribery case involving a corrupt party boss. Xie received a two-year sentence whilst Wang got 18 months

For his trouble, Wu was arrested by local police in June 2016 and convicted this month.

The China Youth Daily, which two days ago reported Wu’s conviction, likened his case to a 2013 case involving five Shanghai judges who were suspended by the party disciplinary committee after being caught on camera visiting prostitutes at a high-end hotel.

The person who secretly filmed the judges participating in these activities was not charged with a criminal offence.

According to several analysts, Xi anti-corruption campaign is caught between the desire to go after "tigers" and "flies" and other directives designed to avoid criticism of the Party.

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