Bribery charges against China's largest gold mining group upheld

16:33, August 27, 2010      

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The bribery accusation against Zijin Mining Group, China's largest gold mining group, stemming from its attempts to cover up a sewage spill was approved by the central government recently.

The General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) also confirmed that none of the journalists involved accepted the hush money.

In the early July 2010, a leak in the sewage tank in the Purple Mountain Copper Mine, which is owned by the Zijin Mining Group, led to 9,100 cubic meters of sewage being spilled into the Ting River and resulted in the death of 3.78 million kilograms of fish in the river, causing serious environmental pollution in neighboring regions. But the Zijin Mining Group attempted to hide this severe incident at first.

Investigations from the GAPP showed that after the pollution incident was exposed, the Zijin Mining Group indeed tried to give envelopes with money to reporters and journalists to keep them quiet, but those reporters who were involved all rejected the bribes immediately, refunded the money or turned it over to their head offices for evidence.

On July 16, reporters from the Shanghai Securities News and the Xiamen Evening News each received two envelopes with 2,000 yuan cash inside in hotels where they lodged, but the two reporters returned the money to the company immediately.

A similar incident also happened to a reporter from the 21st Century Business Herald on July 16, who immediately pushed the man sent to deliver the envelope out of the room.

On the evening of July 16, a reporter from People’s Daily also received an envelope with 2,000 yuan cash inside. The reporter immediately reported it to the headquarters and returned all money back to the company through municipal departments of Longyan City, Fujian Province, where the company is located.

From July 12 to July 20, reporters from China Business News refused bribery money several times as well as accommodation and travel arrangements when conducting interviews in Shanghang County, Longyan City of Fujian Province, where the company is located.

On July 16, a reporter from China Business also received an envelope with 2,000 yuan cash inside, the reporter immediately reported to the headquarter and handed all money to the headquarters to preserve evidence without managing to return the money back immediately.

The Zijin Mining Group, however, issued a statement on its official Web site on July 29, saying that the company neither incited any person to give hush money to reporters over the sewage spill incident, nor did the company spend any such costs.

Zijin Mining Group Co., Ltd., produced 30.65 tons of mineral gold in 2009. Based in China's Fujian Province, it is high-tech, benefit-oriented and the largest domestic gold mining group centered on the exploration and development of gold and base metals. It listed in Hong Kong Stock Exchange in December 2003 and issued its A Shares in April 2008, the first of its kind in China’s A-share market.

The Ting River, which also known as the mother river of the Hakkas, a unique ethnic group of "Han" Chinese originally active around the Yellow River area, flows 300 kilometers from Changting County in western Fujian Province south to the port and Special Economic Zone of Shantou City, Guangdong Province.

The majority of Chinese netizens expressed their condemnation of the contaminating company and demanded it be held legally responsible for its misconduct.

By Li Mu, People's Daily Online


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