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Corrupt leader executed REUTERS in Beijing

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Updated at 2.05pm: The mainland executed a former vice provincial governor on Wednesday for taking more than HK$5 million in bribes, backing up a pledge by Premier Zhu Rongji to step up a crackdown on corruption. Hu Changqing, former vice governor of central Jiangxi province, was the highest Chinese official known to have been executed for corruption in five decades, analysts said.

Xinhua (the New China News Agency) announced Hu's execution just three days after Mr Zhu pledged ''unremitting efforts'' to fight graft as the annual parliament session opened under the shadow of a series of high-level corruption scandals.

''All major cases, no matter which department or who is involved, must be thoroughly investigated and corrupt officials must be severely punished,'' Mr Zhu told the National People's Congress (NPC) on Sunday.

Hu was sentenced to death in February by a court in Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi, and Xinhua said the Supreme People's Court had rejected his appeal on Tuesday.

The agency added that during his term as provincial vice governor and as deputy director of the State Bureau of Religious Affairs from May 1995 to August 1999, Hu accepted bribes totalling 5.44 million yuan (HK$5.1 million).

He could not explain where the money came from to buy property in his name worth 1.61 billion yuan (HK$1.42 billion), it said.

State media has said Hu accepted money and gifts, including watches and diamond rings, to approve construction projects, help resolve bank loans, obtain business licences and help people move to Hong Kong.

China put the anti-corruption drive in the spotlight on the eve of the opening of the NPC's 11-day session by announcing that NPC vice chairman Cheng Kejie was the subject of a bribery investigation.

Beijing sees corruption as a threat to the Communist Party's monopoly on power and to public support for Mr Zhu's efforts to overhaul the socialist economy.

As Mr Zhu's economic reforms throw millions out of work, the sight of government officials growing rich through asset-stripping, bribery and ad hoc levies on private business, is becoming harder for ordinary Chinese to stomach.

-- FollowUpper (do-u-yahoo@u.too), March 08, 2000


I guess we can learn something from the Chinese after all...


-- Someone (, March 09, 2000.

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