Corruption in China

Court throws out disgraced Chen's appeal

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 August, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 August, 1998, 12:00am

The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed an appeal by disgraced Beijing party chief Chen Xitong against a 16-year jail term for corruption and an order to return all bribes.

The verdict ends the case as no further appeals are allowed.

It upheld the previous judgment saying the application of the law was correct and that the sentence and return of all bribes to the state treasury was an appropriate punishment for corruption and dereliction of duty.

Chen's acceptance of bribes and the construction of luxury villas which he used to hold lavish parties violated rules on the use of public funds, said the court.

It ruled Chen, 68, conspired with former Beijing vice-mayor Wang Baosen. Wang committed suicide in 1995.

Chen was dismissed as Beijing party secretary in April, 1995, after being accused of involvement in a HK$17 billion corruption scandal. He was expelled from the party last year.

Xinhua carried the text of an editorial to be run in today's People's Daily which said Chen's punishment 'fully embodies the party's resolve and confidence to resolutely punish corruption'.

'Our party is fully capable of relying on its own strength to rid itself of insects that eat away at the party's body and to excise malignant tumours,' it said.

'After today, if there is anybody who believes they are above the law, can disregard party discipline and national and state laws and act unscrupulously then they will certainly follow the same path to ruin as Chen Xitong.' Chen was shown on national television dressed in prison garb, his hair dishevelled, as a court official read the decision.

By parading Chen before the television cameras at the Supreme Court, the authorities appeared to be sending a sharp warning to other high-ranking officials.

Although people in Beijing were initially unhappy with Chen's sentence, saying its leniency proved there was one law for officials and one for citizens, many believe he has been made a scapegoat.