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China's former railways minister stands trial


13:06, June 09, 2013

Video grab shows China's former railways minister Liu Zhijun being brought into the Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court in Beijing, capital of China, June 9, 2013. Liu stood trial in the court on Sunday on charges of bribery and abuse of power. (Xinhua/Gong Lei)

BEIJING, June 9 (Xinhua) -- China's former railways minister Liu Zhijun stood trial in a court in Beijing on Sunday on charges of bribery and abuse of power.

According to the indictment by the Second Branch of the Beijing People's Procuratorate, Liu took advantage of his position and helped 11 people win promotions and project contracts, and accepted 64.6 million yuan (10.53 million U.S. dollars) in bribes from them between 1986 to 2011.

During his tenure as the railways minister, Liu is suspected of helping Ding Yuxin and her relatives to win cargo transportation and railway construction contracts. He also helped them in the acquisition of shares in a bullet train wheel set company and with enterprise financing, by breaking regulations and applying favoritism, which allowed Ding and her family to reap huge profits, according to the indictment.

Liu's malpractice led to huge losses of public assets and damage to the interests of the state and people, and he should be subject to criminal liabilities for bribe taking and abuse of power, the indictment said.

During the trial, prosecuting authorities presented evidence. The defendant and his lawyer questioned the witnesses in court and defense attorney pleaded on his behalf.

About 50 people attended the trial. They included Liu's family, journalists, legislators and political advisors.

The judgment will be announced on a day to be decided.

Liu, 60, became railways minister and the ministry's Party chief in March 2003.

He was removed from his position on suspicion of "serious disciplinary violations" in February 2011 and expelled from the Communist Party of China in 2012.

Liu's removal is also believed to be linked to the high-speed train collision in July 2011 that killed 40 passengers and injured 172 others, the tragedy having been blamed on improper management.

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