Legal interpretation targets bribery

By Li Fangchao (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-07-09 06:48

The top judicial bodies fired a new shot in the country's fight against corruption yesterday by issuing a legal interpretation of new forms of bribery.

Jointly issued by the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the interpretation spells out 10 types of bribery, and is expected to help prosecutors indict corrupt officials.

The judicial move comes after the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the Communist Party of China's anti-corruption body, issued a set of regulations in late May to prevent officials from taking advantage of their posts to make money illegally.

"With the rapid economic and social development, some new types of bribery cases have emerged with more covert means and more complexity," said a statement issued by the two judicial bodies.

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The interpretation defines in detail the new forms of bribes and draws a line between public servants' official and social interactions and duties. The new types of bribery include:

Receiving stocks and shares as gifts;

Buying property such as houses or automobiles at ridiculously low prices from those seeking favors;

Making money in fixed gambling games or cooperating with others to run a company;

Misusing a post to make profit for others and getting money or gifts after their official tenures;

Making profit with the help of family members, relatives or close associates.

In some cases, an official can be convicted for doing someone a "special favor" even if he may not have actually received a bribe.

People who help officials get bribes covertly can be convicted as "collaborators". The same applies to those who arrange for people ready to bribe an official to get a job done illegally.

Renmin University of China professor Li Chengyan described the judicial interpretation as a "connection" between regulation and law.

"It is a natural process. After the regulation, a legal interpretation is needed to specify how the law works. It shows that China is working out a more complete legal system to combat corruption," he said.

The CCDI, which issued the regulation on May 29, had offered to be lenient with officials who confessed within 30 days. Leniency in this case could mean corrupt officials being saved from facing the judiciary.

But CCDI Deputy Secretary Xia Zanzhong said he is surprised by the small number of officials confessing.

"Instead of anti-corruption campaigns, we need more mature and effective legal system to stem corruption."

Xinhua contributed to the story 

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