Former provincial party boss sentenced to death
A former Chinese provincial Communist Party boss was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve Sunday as part of the country’s ongoing crackdown on corruption at all levels. The Anyang City Intermediate People’s Court in Henan Province said Bai Enpei was found guilty of taking “a huge amount of bribes” and possessing a large amount of income from unidentified sources. Bai had been a senior lawmaker with the national legislature and formerly served as the topranking official in the western provinces of Qinghai and Yunnan. His entire personal assets were also confiscated and he was barred from ever again holding office. Suspended death sentences in China are usually reverted to life imprisonment after two years with good behavior. Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to end corruption and government waste, although critics have accused him of using the campaign to attack political rivals. Thousands of officeholders have been investigated as part of the campaign, and some Chinese have complained that the drive has resulted in bureaucratic paralysis as officials refuse to perform certain standard tasks out of fear of being accused of bribe-taking. Two other former high-ranking officials, Zhou Benshun and Yang Dongliang, have also been formally charged with corruption, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday, citing the state prosecutor’s office. Zhou had been party boss of Hebei province, just outside Beijing, while Yang had led the State Administration of Work Safety. Both were charged with taking bribes. Yang was also accused of embezzling public assets. Yang was placed under investigation in August of last year, shortly after a massive explosion at a chemical storage warehouse in the northern port city of Tianjin killed 173 people — mostly firefighters and police — in one of China’s worstever workplace accidents.