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Party school leader faces trial after 13 years in hiding

(Xinhua)

08:40, May 31, 2012

HANGZHOU, May 30 (Xinhua) -- Armed with a fake name and two counterfeit diplomas, a forgery artist managed to climb the ranks of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to reach the position of a party school deputy chief after 13 years of running from the law.

But authorities finally managed to catch up with 49-year-old Shi Baoyue last September, charging him with writing false value-added invoices and forging official seals.

A trial for Shi opened in the People's Court of the city of Jinhua, located in east China's Zhejiang province, on Monday. Shi was supposed to face the first of the two charges 13 years ago, but managed to escape the province after catching wind of the case being lodged against him.

"I have been living in terror for the past 13 years, and I have tried to bleach my experience by atoning for my wrongdoings," Shi said in the courtroom, adding that he sponsored 28 poor students as a way of redeeming himself.

Shi managed to move to the city of Chengdu in southwest China in 1998 to hide from authorities after hearing about a possible court case being built against him.

"I thought I should live a new life," Shi recalled.

He purchased a fake ID card and residence booklet, choosing to take the name "Gao Shanqing." He then went on to purchase two false diplomas, with one showing that he had graduated from Fudan University and another as evidence of his "studies" at Zhongshan University.

With his fake diplomas and previous experience at a township newspaper, Shi had no difficulty finding media jobs in multiple provinces over the following 13 years. His travels took him to the provinces of Sichuan, Guangdong, Fujian and Jiangsu.

Promotions within the media organizations he worked for led him to eventually apply for and receive a position as deputy chief of the Communist Party School in the city of Zhangjiagang, located in east China's Jiangsu province.

Shi was careful about his deception, taking great pains to preserve his identity and avoid detection. After receiving one of his fake diplomas and comparing it to a genuine diploma he found online, he returned the counterfeit document and asked the vendor he purchased it from to correct a flaw he had detected.

Shi was arrested in September of last year, although police did not provide any details as to how they ascertained his true identity.

In the wake of Shi's trial, many people have expressed outrage over the incident, wondering how a criminal could rise to such a high position.

"In China, a fugitive can become an actor or a monk. But the newly exposed fugitive-turned-Party School chief sets a new record and expands the possibilities for how a fugitive could be," said a commentary that appeared in the Yangtze River Daily.

A sentencing date for Shi's case has not been announced, as the court said that complications in the case have delayed the confirmation of the date.

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