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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Chinese official gets life in prison

China: Official CorruptionChina certainly seems to be demonstrating that it is taking official corruption very seriously. It is reported that the former manager of the Shenzens Subway System was sentenced to life in prison on retrial for receiving bribes and official corruption.

Not only is the sentence seen to be a very strong message to officials concerning corruption but also to those convicted appealing their decisions. The official, Ma Gongyuan was originally sentenced to only 16 years for taking $3000,000 in bribes and concealing $500,000 in foreign bank accounts however on retrial this was increased to life. No reasons were given by the court for this change in sentencing.

Whilst a life sentence would appear harsh the problem of corruption is endemic in Chinese officialdom with considerable adverse ramifications for human rights of Chinese citizens. From forced evictions as a result of corrupt collusion with property developers to preventable coal mining deaths as corrupt officials look the other way to operational illegalities, corruption is a blight on China's human rights landscape.

Recently China has shown greater acknowledgement of the problem and has demonstrated a willingness to combat it resulting, as in this case, with high level officials receiving considerably lengthy custodial sentences and even capital punishment.

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