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Bribe-hungry officials can no longer hide behind mistresses, says new judicial interpretation
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21:55, July 27, 2007

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Having a nubile, young mistress is not only fashionable for China''s middle-aged officials partial to a spot of corruption but also a perfect cloak for taking bribe and laundering money.

But it will no longer be so easy following a new judicial explanation concerning cases of bribery that was issued in early July by China''s Supreme People''s Court (SPC) and the Supreme People''s Procuratorate (SPP).

It listed 10 "new forms" of bribery, including seeking profits through "specially-related persons", referring to close family members, relatives, lovers and people sharing joint interests.

As a result, for the first time prosecutors will no longer need to provide evidence of the involvement of a mistress in order to convict an official charged with accepting bribes.

Chinese prosecutors have long been wise to the fact that the identification of a mistress usually means a significant breakthrough in a corruption investigation. However, it was hard to link the suspects with what their lovers had done in court.

Zhao Zhanqi, the former transport chief of east China''s Zhejiang Province, would have made a narrow escape from being convicted of accepting 550,000 yuan (about 72,000 U.S. dollars) in bribes without the new judicial explanation.

Zhao was a typical bribe taker with "clean hands". Out of the 5.6 million yuan (737,000 U.S. dollars) in question, most was taken by his son in the name of loans and consultation fees from two companies.

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