China / Society

China suspends newspaper in bribery scandal

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-04-11 21:53

BEIJING - China has suspended a newspaper after two of its post chiefs extorted money from county officials and enterprises by threatening to expose their malpractice, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said in a statement Friday.

The Beijing-based West Times was ordered to suspend its operations after Ma Yuhua and Tian Hua, respectively head of its posts in the provinces of Gansu and Shanxi, demanded a total of 1.3 million yuan ($210,000) from the Party chief, local officials and enterprises of Xiangfen County, Shanxi Province.

The two had allegedly threatened to expose the Party chief's abuse of power in recruiting a young woman he met during a sightseeing tour, in addition to other officials' and enterprises' violations of law.

Ma received 250,000 yuan, one-third of the amount he asked for, while Tian demanded 550,000 yuan and received 50,000 yuan.

Ma was sentenced to six and half years in prison and fined 100,000 yuan in December, and Tian was jailed for four years and received a fine of 50,000 yuan.

Reporters are required to make money for the newspaper, or else their press cards will be revoked or they will be dismissed, the administration cited Wang Longfei, a reporter from the newspaper, as saying.

The newspaper is also accused of forging diplomas for its reporters during press card application, according to authorities' investigation.

Local regulators have revoked the operation license of the newspaper's Shanxi post and discipline authorities have been involved in the investigation into the wrongdoings of the newspaper leaders, according to the administration.

West Times is operated by the Association for Promotion of West China Research and Development, a non-governmental research institution. The newspaper claims it has a nationwide circulation of 200,000 copies, but experts have suggested that number has been exaggerated.

Hot Topics