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Senior provincial official expelled for corruption
( 2003-08-10 13:58) (Agencies)

A former senior party official and governor of Hebei province has been expelled from the Chinese Communist Party after being accused of corruption, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Cheng Weigao, 70, was suspected of using his post to benefit his son financially, causing losses to the government, Xinhua said late Saturday. It did not specify the amount lost.

He was also accused of allowing his wife and children to engage in illegal activities, taking revenge against colleagues who reported his corruption and accepting valuable gifts as bribes, it said.

Cheng, whose most recent post was chairman of the Standing Committee of Hebei's parliament, was also suspected of conniving with his two secretaries to commit crimes, it said.

One of Cheng's secretaries had been given a suspended death sentence and another was sentenced to death at an initial trial, it said.

China's top legal enforcers said in March they had become tougher on corruption in the past five years, investigating 12,830 officials since 1998 and increasing conviction rates.

Courts convicted 2,662 officials at the county level or higher of corruption over the last five years, chief justice Xiao Yang said in his report.

But they said they faced an uphill battle against cracks in the legal system and local governments that shelter state company officials and senior party members.

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