China probes over 54,200 officials for graft last year

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Beijing, Mar 13: China investigated 54,249 officials last year including some high-level ruling-Communist Party functionaries like the former security czar for corruption and punished over 1400 people in terrorism and security related cases.

A total of 22 Chinese ex-officials at ministerial level or above, including former party leader and security chief Zhou Yongkang, were prosecuted last year, while 41 were subject to formal investigations, up from 28 in 2014, China's Procurator-General Cao Jianming told lawmakers when presenting a work report on the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP).


Chief Justice of China's Supreme Court Zhou Qiang also said courts have concluded trials for Zhou and 15 other senior officials, showcasing "the Party and the country's resolute determination in cracking down on corruption."    

According to the SPP work report, close to 80 former Chinese officials at ministerial level or above had been investigated in the three years between 2013 and 2015. "We will continue to maintain high pressure on corruption," Zhou said. All in all, 54,249 officials were investigated for their involvement in 40,834 graft cases in 2015, according to Procurator-General Cao.

The figures represent a slight drop from the year before, when 55,101 officials were probed in 41,487 cases. They include 4,568 officials at division level and above and 769 officials at prefecture level and above.

Zhou also said, courts convicted 1,419 criminals harming state security, including those taking part in terrorist attacks and secessionist activities, in 1,084 cases.

The courts also stepped up efforts against criminals who instigated secessionist activities; who led, organised and took part in terrorist groups; and who spread video and audio products about terrorism, he said.

The SPP supervised prosecutors in Xinjiang and Tibet to better handle security-related problems, and worked with the SPC and Ministry of Public Security on proper application of law on terrorist attacks and criminal cases involving religious extremists, Cai said.

China has stepped security in Xinjiang province where the Uyghur Muslims are restive over the settlements of Han Chinese from other provinces. In Tibet, Chinese security forces countered self immolation protests demanding the return of the Dali Lama.

Over 130 Tibetans committed self immolations in Tibet and abroad in the last few years, according to Tibetan overseas groups.

China's courts also concluded 19,000 criminal cases involving environmental pollution and undermining resources in 2015, up 18.8 per cent year on year, Zhou said.

Courts at all levels also concluded 78,000 civil cases concerning environmental protection, Chief Justice Zhou Qiang said in the report at the annual session of national legislature.


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