Tong Mingqian, a former senior political adviser in Hunan, was sentenced to five years in prison for official negligence by a Beijing court on Monday morning.
Tong, 56, was found guilty of failing to investigate and stop a massive vote-buying scandal in Hengyang city that involved 518 out of 527 delegates to the local People’s Congress, the legislative body, when he served as the city’s Communist Party chief in 2012 and last year, according to Beijing Second No 2 Intermediate People’s Court.
Fifty-six provincial legislators were sacked in December for allegedly bribing 518 city lawmakers with a total of 110 million yuan (HK$138.6 million) in exchange for votes.
Tong, the city’s party chief and responsible for overseeing the election, failed to launch an investigation after receiving tip-offs of vote buying, the court said in a statement.
His negligence “caused huge losses to the public interest, and his violations were ‘extremely severe”, the statement said. But Tong was given a lenient sentence by pleading guilty.
While people’s congresses are widely dismissed as rubber stamps for resolutions handed down by the ruling Communist Party, seats on regional and national legislatures are coveted for the favoured treatment deputies often receive.
Some political analysts said the scandal reflected the flaws inherent to mainland’s legislative election system, as deputies at each level are elected by deputies from lower-level legislatures rather than their constituents.
Tong was promoted to the vice-chairman of Hunan’s political advisory body last year after the vote-buying scandal election fraud took place.