China starts prosecution of former Shenzhen mayor

08:28, April 22, 2011      

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Xu Zongheng

Xu Zongheng, the former mayor of China's southern boomtown of henzhen, stood trial on Thursday on charges of accepting bribes, according to a local court in Central China.

Xu, 56, is accused of accepting 33.2 million yuan ($5.1 million) from building material companies and officials between 2001 and 2009 when he served as a high-ranking official in Shenzhen.

Prosecutors said Xu had abused his power to help nine agencies and individuals change land development plans, win construction project contracts and gain promotion during the nine-year period.

Xu became mayor of Shenzhen in 2005 and was removed from his post for "serious disciplinary violations" in June 2009.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China said in a statement in August 2010 that Xu had been formally sacked as Shenzhen's mayor for taking bribes and other abuses.

Xu was also stripped of his Party membership for a "severe violation of discipline and the law", the statement said.

An investigation by the commission found Xu had abused his office to make profits for others, accepted large amounts of money in return and led a "corrupt life," according to the statement.

Xu's case was heard in the Intermediate People's Court of Zhengzhou city, the capital of Central China's Henan province.

The trial was open to the public and dozens of people attended, including reporters and Xu's relatives.

The court said its verdict will be announced at a later date.

Source: Xinhua
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