Death sentences handed down for graft
AT least seven middle and junior-ranking cadres of government departments and state companies have been given heavy sentences for taking bribes in the Government's latest anti-graft campaign.
The convicts who included such people as the head of the personnel office of a provincial government and a taxi company manager were given sentences ranging from death to three years' imprisonment.
Beijing leaders have repeatedly stressed that corruption has reached an alarming level in the country and promised tough punishment for any violators.
But reports by the Chinese media yesterday showed that all the people sentenced were only junior or middle-ranking cadres.
Although the anti-graft campaign has been in process for more than a year, no senior officials - ministers or bureau directors of the central Government - have been arrested for corruption.
Most of the people caught were junior officials of regional governments and managers, accountants and cashiers of some government-related companies.
Rampant corruption is a major source of discontent among the public. The Communist Party has been blamed for failing to put a stop to illicit practices within the party and the Government.
According to the Hong Kong China News Agency (HKCNA), the former head of the Personnel Office of the Yunnan Provincial Government, Zao Kaitai, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for accepting 260,000 yuan (HK$234,780) in bribes.
His son, Zao Qiang, who was described by the HKCNA as an accomplice, was sentenced to three years in prison.
Separately in Beijing, the official China News Service reported that four people have been sentenced to death or long term imprisonment.
Zhang Qing, a cashier of a state-owned trading company was given the death penalty for embezzling over 200,000 yuan.
Another cadre, Tan Defai of the Finance and Materials Department of the State Information Centre, was also found guilty of accepting 140,800 yuan in bribes and she was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Li Junting, a deputy manager of a taxi company in Beijing, was sentenced to 12 years in jail for embezzling 139,000 yuan after he brought 10 taxis for his company.