Death rare for economic crimes

(China Daily)
Updated: 2007-08-03 06:45

The country is very prudent in its use of the death penalty to punish economic criminals, the disciplinary watchdog of Communist Party of China (CPC) said yesterday.

"We are very prudent in using the death penalty to execute perpetrators of economic crimes, and the number of death penalties handed down to economic criminals is very small," Gan Yisheng, spokesman for the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the CPC Central Committee, said at a press conference.

The death penalty is applicable in cases of serious economic crime.

Gan made the remarks in response to questions over the severity of the punishment given to Zheng Xiaoyu, who was executed on July 10 after being found guilty of engaging in corruption during his tenure as director of the State Food and Drug Administration.

"Zheng Xiaoyu was given a death sentence not only because of the huge amounts of bribes he took, but also because he committed serious crimes," said Gan.

Zheng, 63, was sentenced to death on May 29 by the Beijing Municipal No 1 Intermediate People's Court after being found guilty of taking 6.49 million yuan ($850,000) in bribes and dereliction of duty.

Gan said the practice of executing criminals who commit severe economic crimes reflected the "status quo and cultural background" of China.

"Different countries have different circumstances and have different cultural backgrounds and views on the death penalty. They also have different legal regulations, which is very natural," said Gan.

The Supreme People's Court retrieved the right to review all death penalty decisions made by lower courts from January 1, ending its 24-year absence in approving execution verdicts.

Separately, 1,790 people voluntarily reported misconduct involving 77.9 million yuan during the one-month period since the CCDI issued a set of regulations targeting corruption that took effect on May 30.

The regulations urged officials who had traded power for money to confess their crimes before the end of June in return for leniency, Gan said.

Xinhua-China Daily

(China Daily 08/03/2007 page3)

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