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Monday, July 31, 2000, updated at 22:31(GMT+8)

Cheng Kejie Sentenced to Death for Bribery

Cheng Kejie, former vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, was sentenced to death Monday for accepting bribes.

The No.1 Intermediate People's Court of Beijing announced this verdict in a public hearing in Beijing.

Cheng's personal possessions are to be confiscated and he is to be deprived of all political rights permanently, the verdict said.

The court verdict was the ruling at the first instance trial and Cheng is eligible to appeal to the Beijing Higher People's Court in 10 days, according China's Criminal Procedural Law.

Cheng, 66, was found guilty, in collaboration with his mistress Li Ping, of having taken 41 million yuan in bribes when he served as deputy secretary of the Party Committee of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and chairman of the people's government of Guangxi.

The Beijing No.1 Intermediate People's Court started the legal proceedings against Cheng on June 26 within the jurisdiction as designated by the Supreme People's Court, and held open hearings on July 13 and 14.

The court has found out that at year-end of 1993, Cheng and his mistress Li Ping planned to marry after they divorced their spouses. They then worked out a scheme under which Li would serve as an "agent" to find bribers for Cheng, so that Cheng would seek illegal gains for them by abusing his post as chairman of the people's government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

According to the scheme, the two accepted bribes and deposited them in overseas banks for their future use after marriage, the court has found. From early 1994 to June of 1996, Cheng, with the help of Li, demanded the regional planning commission, in violation of law, to grant a major construction project to Yinxing Real Estate Development Company, instructed the Nanning Municipal Government to slash the land price, and brokered a bank loan of 70 million yuan for Yinxing. As a result, Cheng was paid more than 20.21 million yuan by the Yinxing company as commission.

From first half of 1996 to the end of 1997, Cheng again abused his position to help Yinxing contract a project building the Ethnic Palace in the regional capital Nanning, and brokered 30 million yuan of loans for the company from a state-owned bank. He also asked government departments to "lend" a total of 75 million yuan to Yinxing and offer the company 13 million yuan in a subsidy from the State Planning Commission. Yinxing, as promised, paid Cheng and his mistress 9 million RMB yuan and 8.04 million Hong Kong dollars for his "services".

From July 1994 through 1997, Cheng and Li also took bribes from Zhou Kun, head of the Yinxing company, valued at 550,000 yuan, including 20,000 RMB yuan, 20,000 Hong Kong dollars, 20,000 US dollars, as well as gold diamond rings, expensive watches and other valuables.

During the period from July to October 1994, Cheng learned from Li that it was "profitable" to help the Guangxi Investment and Trust Company get bank loans. He once again abused his power to secure loans of 16 million yuan for the company from the Guangxi branches of the China Construction Bank and the Bank of China. From this move, Cheng accepted a bribe of 600,000 yuan.

In July 1997, Cheng learned from Li Ping that the Guilong Economic and Trade Co. Ltd. has promised "kickbacks" for officials who could help it get a tunnel construction contract from the Ministry of Railways. Cheng instructed related government departments to intervene in the public bidding of the project and made the company a successful contractor. Cheng therefore got 1.8 million yuan in "kickbacks."

From early 1994 to early 1998, Cheng also accepted bribes of 288,000 yuan and 3,000 US dollars from three government officials for helping them to get promoted. Former deputy head of Hepu county became deputy secretary-general of the regional government of Guangxi, head of a police sub-bureau in Beihai city was made head of the Beihai Police Bureau, and another official was sent to Beijing as a deputy head of Representative Office of Guangxi in Beijing.

Cheng's mistress Li Ping and bribers involved in above- mentioned cases have all been dealt with or are to be dealt with separately, according to the court.

In all, Cheng and Li accepted bribes totalling 41 million yuan when Cheng served as the chairman of the people's government of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the court has found.

Their illicit gains have been deposited in overseas banks by Li Ping as planned, except for 11.5 million yuan paid to a Hong Kong businessman who helped them transfer or claim the money. All the illegal deposits have been recovered by the State after Cheng's crimes were exposed.

During the court hearings, the prosecution officers, Cheng and his defense counsels fully expressed their opinions and debated on evidences presented to the court.

The court then ruled that Cheng, as an government official, has been found guilty of taking bribes as he sought illicit gains for others by abusing his power.

"The amount of bribes Cheng took was extremely huge," said the verdict, adding that "the crimes he committed in the capacity of a senior leading official has seriously violated the normal working order of government institutions, tarnished the clean and honest image of government functionaries, discredited the fine reputation of government officials, and thus should be harshly dealt with in accordance with the law."

The open trial of Cheng, a senior leading official involved in a serious economic felony, has been a full demonstration of the principle as prescribed in the country's constitution that "All are equal before the law" and a full embodiment of the Party and government's resolute determination and efforts to punish corruption in accordance with the law, the presiding judge of the case told Xinhua.

In This Section

Cheng Kejie, former vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress, was sentenced to death on Monday for soliciting and accepting bribery.

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