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Former Guizhou political advisor pleads guilty to accepting bribes, abusing power

By Cao Yin | | Updated: 2024-05-23 20:37
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Li Zaiyong, a former senior political advisor from Guizhou province, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes worth more than 400 million yuan ($59.6 million) and abusing power while standing at a court in Chongqing on Thursday.

According to the Chongqing prosecutors, Li, from 1998 to 2023, was found to have taken advantage of his various posts, including mayor of Guiyang, capital of Guizhou and vice-governor of Guizhou, to seek profits for others in matters such as project contracting, land expropriation and project approval, and then accepted bribes of over 432 million yuan in return.

From 2014 to 2017, when Li served as Party secretary of Liupanshui, a city of Guizhou, and head of the city's planning and construction commission, he violated laws to develop tourism projects, even though he knew that blindly implementing the construction would encroach on farmlands, forests and water sources. At that time, some staff members had raised objections, but he continued the projects and even promoted them through debt financing, the prosecutors said.

When Li was investigated, more than 914 million yuan had been used to pay the interests on financing the projects and other expenses, they said, adding that the projects illegally occupied over 105 hectares of forest land, cultivated land, grassland and permanent farmland, causing the environmental damage and bringing the economic losses of more than 86.45 million yuan.

The prosecutors noted that Li should be held criminally liable for the crimes of bribery and abuse of power.

During the trial, Li and his lawyer also shared opinions on the evidence provided by the prosecutors, and Li confessed to the crimes.

The Fifth Intermediate People's Court in Chongqing said that the ruling will be announced at a later date.

More than 20 people, including national lawmakers and political advisors, also attended the case hearing.

Li, 61, is a member of the Gelao ethnic group as well as a native of Guizhou. He joined the Communist Party of China in 1984 and has been working in Guizhou since he began his career in 1983.

He became vice-chairman of the Guizhou Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in 2022.

In March 2023, he was under probation for suspected severe violations of the Party disciplines and the law. About seven months later, he was expelled from the Party and removed from public office.

In February this year, he was prosecuted for suspected bribery and abuse of power by Chongqing prosecutors.

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