Chen Xitong

Corrupt boss let off lightly, say Beijingers

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 August, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 August, 1998, 12:00am


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Beijingers said corrupt former party secretary Chen Xitong should have got more than 16 years in jail for his crimes.

'He should have been shot, not jailed,' said a taxi driver. 'During the Korean War there were two Long Marchers who diverted money to themselves and Mao [Zedong] had them executed.' Many Beijingers said Chen was given a light sentence because the Communist Party dealt gently with members who committed crimes.

Some taxi drivers questioned whether Chen would serve his full term.

'Chen will never serve 16 years. He'll serve a couple of years, the political climate will change and then he'll be released,' said one. He said Chen was just a little fish and he wanted to see bigger players arrested and made examples of.

A shopkeeper said: 'The Communist Party has its own crooks but they're treated by the party so much better than other crooks.

'The party gives them too much face. If some gang member was found to be guilty of stealing a lot of money he would be executed and I don't see any reason why party members should get special treatment.

'Since they have so much power, officials should be treated even more harshly than commoners to make an example and keep corruption out of government.' A businesswoman agreed. 'They ought to shoot him,' she said. 'If people aren't afraid of getting caught corruption will never stop. He stole so much money.' Others thought execution was not the right solution in cases of official corruption.

'So many people have been executed in China and it's good that they will not be executing Chen because too many have been killed,' said another shopkeeper. 'If he serves his entire sentence, 16 years, it's appropriate for his crimes, but I am afraid he will not serve all of it.' A man washing cars in the street said: 'It's good that he has been sentenced at all.

'I was afraid that he would get off even more lightly as it's clear that officials have special privileges.

'It should be that 90 per cent of officials are good, with maybe 10 per cent with some kind of minor corruption problem. But in reality, 70 per cent are corrupt and only 30 per cent are not.' A black marketeer shrugged and said corruption was everywhere and it would not be stopped. 'I don't see why we should care about Chen, his case has nothing to do with me or my business,' he said.