Courts try 2 high-ranking officials for bribery; 1 sentenced to 15 years in prison
Zhang Yue, the former top official in charge of political and legal affairs in Hebei province, was tried on charges of taking bribes of more than 157 million yuan ($22.8 million).
The bribery case was tried in open court at Changzhou Intermediate People's Court in Jiangsu province on Thursday, the court said in a statement on its website.
Zhang was accused of accepting bribes between 2008 and 2016 during which time he held several senior positions in Hebei, including as the provincial police chief.
The Changzhou People's Procuratorate said in the trial that Zhang helped companies benefit from land development and project contracting, and he used his power to influence court decisions to benefit others. It also prosecuted Zhang for accepting bribes in return for promotions.
Zhang confessed to the crimes in court, and most of the bribes he took have been seized, according to the statement.
The court said it will later issue its verdict.
On the same day, former deputy head of the mainland's Taiwan affairs authority was sentenced to 15 years in prison on bribery charges.
Gong Qinggai, former deputy head of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, was convicted of taking 53.5 million yuan in bribes.
He was found to have used his positions as senior officials in Fujian province, including the top official in Jinjiang and the mayor of Nanping, to benefit others in land expropriation, construction projects and city planning.
Anyang Intermediate People's Court in Henan province, where Gong was convicted, said on Thursday that it showed him leniency because he confessed to his crimes and he offered information about crimes committed by others, who were unknown to prosecutors.
Yang Weidong, a law professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said the two cases have shown the unswerving determination of anti-graft authorities to carry out the nationwide campaign.
"The efforts to build a clean government started in late 2012. It takes a few years to find out, investigate, prosecute and convict the accused in bribery cases. Years will be needed to root out corruption across the country, so it is highly important to continue the anti-graft campaign in all areas and to maintain a zero-tolerance stance in the efforts," he said.
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