Ex-of­fi­cial sen­tenced to jail for cor­rup­tion

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YAN zhangyan1@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Zhang Li­jun, for­mer vice-min­is­ter of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, was sen­tenced to four years in prison on Wed­nes­day for tak­ing bribes worth 2.43 mil­lion yuan ($357,000), a lo­cal court in Bei­jing ruled.

Zhang, 64, was also fined 500,000 yuan ($73,500) and all his ill-got­ten gains were con­fis­cated, ac­cord­ing to the ver­dict of the Bei­jing No 2 In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court.

The ver­dict said Zhang abused his power to gain ben­e­fits for oth­ers on prod­uct sales, project ap­provals, job pro­mo­tions and hir­ing the chil­dren of other of­fi­cials, and ac­cepted bribes be­tween 1998 and 2013.

Dur­ing the course of 15 years, he served as the di­rec­tor of the plan­ning and fi­nance depart­ment un­der the State En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion, di­rec­tor of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pol­lu­tion con­trol depart­ment, deputy head at the ad­min­is­tra­tion and vice-min­is­ter of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion.

SEPA was up­graded to the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion in 2008.

The court said in a state­ment that Zhang was given rel­a­tively le­nient pun­ish­ment be­cause he had con­fessed to his crimes and ex­pressed re­gret, and all his ill-got­ten as­sets have been re­cov­ered.

In July last year, the Cen­tral Com­mis­sion for Dis­ci­pline In­spec­tion, the coun­try’s top anti-graft watch­dog, an­nounced an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Zhang for “se­ri­ous dis­ci­pline vi­o­la­tions” two years af­ter his re­tire­ment.

In June this year, he stood trial in Bei­jing on charges of tak­ing bribes.

Last year, the CCDI sent a spe­cial in­spec­tion team to the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion to col­lect ev­i­dence of graft, which found some problems such as in­ter­fer­ence by min­istry of­fi­cials and their rel­a­tives in en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sess­ments.

Since late 2012, when the new Com­mu­nist Party of China lead­er­ship was elected, anti-cor­rup­tion has be­come a pri­or­ity, and a sweep­ing drive to tar­get both high and low-rank­ing of­fi­cials has been ini­ti­ated.

To date, more than 140 high-rank­ing of­fi­cials have been placed un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for, or con­victed of, graft is­sues, in­clud­ing Zhou Yongkang, the coun­try’s for­mer se­cu­rity chief, who was jailed for life in June last year.

Zhang Li­jun, for­mer vicem­i­nis­ter of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion

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