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No parole for high-ranking Party boss

Updated: 2016-10-10 07:20
By ZHANG YAN (China Daily)

In a deepening of China's anti-corruption campaign, a high-ranking official accused of taking large bribes will, for the first time, have no chance of parole after receiving a suspended death sentence under the nation's revised Criminal Law.

Bai Enpei, 70, was the first official at the level of senior lawmaker with the National People's Congress to be given such a harsh sentence since the law's revision last October.

The former Communist Party boss of Qinghai and Yunnan provinces was accused of taking bribes and given a death sentence with a two-year reprieve on Sunday. That sentence is typically commuted to a life sentence if the convict is involved in no further crimes during the two-year period.

The verdict was handed down by the Anyang City Intermediate People's Court in Henan province, along with permanent revocation of Bai's citizenship and confiscation of all personal properties.

Bai was found guilty of abusing his power to benefit others via real estate development, obtaining mining rights and job promotions, then accepted bribes valued at nearly 247 million yuan ($37 million) in cash or property personally or through his wife, court officials said. He was also found to have excessive assets with no clear source.

According to the newly amended Criminal Law, if a suspect is found guilty of corruption and sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve, he can receive no further reduction of sentence besides a change to life imprisonment.

"Such a revision has provided a legal basis for handling serious corruption offenders and will avoid attempts by influential and wealthy people to receive shorter sentences," said Hong Daode, law professor with China University of Political Science and Law.

"Bai's trial will serve as an example for handling later corruption cases to ensure justice and a proper sentence," he said.

The court decided on the death sentences with reprieve because Bai had confessed his crimes and expressed regret in June during a court trial, and the illicit assets were recovered in full, according to a court statement.

In a separate development, Zhou Benshun, former Party chief in Hebei province, was charged with bribery by the Xiamen People's Procuratorate, which will try the case in Xiamen Intermediate People's Court, according to the Supreme People's Procuratorate on Sunday.

According to the indictment, Zhou used his job influence to collect bribes when serving in a variety of positions, including Hunan provincial security chief, secretary-general of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee and Party chief in Hebei.

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