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Report exposes details of former environmental official's bribery case

By Xu Zhesheng | | Updated: 2024-03-01 21:35
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He Fali, former head of the environmental protection department in Shaanxi province, turned a blind eye to the polluting factories that bribed him, leading to severe damage to the environment during his tenure. After his retirement, he continued to take bribes and purchased over 10 real estate properties.

A recent report on China Discipline Inspection and Supervision Newspaper, the newspaper managed by the nation's top anti-corruption authorities, recently revealed more details of his case.

In April 2022, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for taking bribes worth over 40 million yuan ($5.6 million).

Born in 1954, his career trajectory was marked by a steady rise through the ranks in Shaanxi's environment sector, holding positions including the deputy director of the Shaanxi provincial forestry department and the director of the Shaanxi provincial environmental protection department.

Despite his humble origins, his ascent to power led to a distortion of values after seeing the lavish lifestyle of businesspeople around him. He abused his authority for personal gain, engaged in corrupt practices and fostered a culture of bribery and favoritism.

His actions not only compromised his own integrity but also had a detrimental impact on the environmental protection efforts in Shaanxi province.

He manipulated environmental policies, favoring certain paper mills that gave him bribes and allowing them to continue discharging wastewater into the Weihe River after a pollution control campaign was launched in 2004.

Monitoring data revealed the water quality of the river deteriorated annually during his tenure from 2003 to 2012, reaching a state of severe pollution from 2010 to 2012.

His corrupt practices not only led to environmental degradation but also tainted the political environment in Shaanxi.

He intervened in personnel arrangements and turned normal hierarchical relationships into money-for-benefit exchanges. From 2004 to 2015, he assisted 15 individuals with promotions, job transfers and employment arrangements, receiving bribes of over 2 million yuan.

He indulged himself in corruption even after retiring in 2017. He used illicit funds to purchase 13 properties in multiple locations and concealed his actual ownership by registering the property rights under the names of relatives and friends. He received his last bribe of 200,000 yuan in 2020, offered by a real estate agent, an old acquaintance.

In his confession, he expressed remorse, attributing his downfall to a loss of Party discipline, a departure from his initial aspirations, and succumbing to the allure of material wealth. He lamented the loss of his integrity and the abandonment of his humble origins, acknowledging his failure to live up to the expectations of the Party and his parents.

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