Top main­land of­fi­cial con­fesses to graft: court

The China Post - - GUIDE POST - BY FELI­CIA SON­MEZ

Main­land China’s for­mer state as­sets chief Jiang Jiemin — one of the high­est-pro­file ca­su­al­ties of the coun­try’s anti-graft drive and an ally of ex-se­cu­rity chief Zhou Yongkang — con­fessed to cor­rup­tion at his trial on Mon­day, a court said.

Jiang ad­mit­ted his of­fenses at the Han­jiang In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court in the cen­tral prov­ince of Hubei, it said on its Sina Weibo mi­croblog.

He is ac­cused of bribery and abuse of power, the court said, adding that Jiang al­legedly pos­sessed “a huge amount of as­sets of un­known ori­gin.”

In a lengthy ad­dress, Jiang ad­mit­ted his guilt and ap­pealed for le­niency, ac­cord­ing to the court.

“The facts of my crime are clear, the ev­i­dence is true and un­de­ni­able, and the Han­jiang court’s law­suit is ob­jec­tive,” Jiang said, ac­cord­ing to the court state­ment.

“I con­fess to the facts of the crime with­out con­ceal­ing any­thing. I ad­mit my guilt and re­pent for my crimes,” he said, adding that he had “dam­aged the im­age of the (Chi­nese Com­mu­nist) Party within the hearts of the peo­ple.”

“For th­ese er­rors, I am deeply, deeply re­pen­tant.”

The hear­ing was com­pleted on Mon­day af­ter­noon and the judges “will se­lect a date to an­nounce the de­ci­sion af­ter de­lib­er­at­ing in ac­cor­dance with the law,” the court said.

Pho­tos posted by the court showed a stern-faced Jiang stand­ing in the court­room, clad in a dark blue jacket and with po­lice of­fi­cers tow­er­ing over him on ei­ther side.

Main­land Chi­nese courts are closely con­trolled by the Com­mu­nist Party, as is re­port­ing on sen­si­tive tri­als, and a guilty ver­dict is ef­fec­tively a cer­tainty.

Jiang worked for decades in the main­land’s petroleum in­dus­try and rose to be­come chair­man of China Na­tional Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the coun­try’s big­gest oil pro­ducer.

He has links go­ing back to the 1980s with Zhou Yongkang, a for­mer CNPC chief him­self who went on to be­come main­land China’s hugely pow­er­ful in­ter­nal se­cu­rity chief but was charged with bribery and abuse of power this month.

‘Seek­ing profit’

Pros­e­cu­tors ac­cused Jiang of “seek­ing profit in ex­change for ap­prov­ing projects and grant­ing pro­mo­tions,” main­land China’s of­fi­cial Xin­hua news agency re­ported.

They pointed to 14 in­stances where Jiang “so­licited or il­le­gally ac­cepted money and goods ei­ther di­rectly or through his wife,” Xin­hua said.

“Pros­e­cu­tors pointed out that as of Aug. 31, 2013, Jiang Jiemin’s per­sonal and fam­ily as­sets and ex­penses clearly ex­ceeded his and his fam­ily’s law­fully earned in­come, and Jiang was un­able to ex­plain the source of the huge sum ac­count­ing for the dif­fer­ence,” Xin­hua re­ported.

Nei­ther Xin­hua nor the court im­me­di­ately pro­vided fur­ther de­tails.

Jiang was tapped in March 2013 to run the State-owned As­sets Su­per­vi­sion and Ad­min­is­tra­tion Com­mis­sion (SASAC), which over­sees China’s many pow­er­ful sta­te­owned en­ter­prises.

But less than six months later, the rul­ing Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party’s in­ter­nal watch­dog an­nounced that it was prob­ing him for al­leged “se­ri­ous dis­ci­plinary vi­o­la­tions,” a eu­phemism for of­fi­cial cor­rup­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to state- run me­dia, the move marked the first in­ves­ti­ga­tion of a mem­ber of the party’s pow­er­ful Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, which has about 200 mem­bers.

Main­land Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, who took of­fice two years ago, has vowed to oust cor­rupt of­fi­cials all the way from low-level “flies” to high-rank­ing “tigers” amid fears graft could threaten the party’s hold on power.

Zhou and a host of his al­lies have been de­tained and stripped of their party membership since 2013, amid of­fi­cial me­dia al­le­ga­tions of an “oil fac­tion” in the party.

Among them is for­mer CNPC Vice Pres­i­dent Wang Yongchun, who was Zhou’s as­sis­tant when he worked at the ma­jor Chi­nese oil­field of Daqing.

An­other top CNPC ex­ec­u­tive, gen­eral manager Liao Yongyuan, was placed un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion last month.

But crit­ics note that main­land China has failed to im­ple­ment in­sti­tu­tional safe­guards against graft, such as public as­set dis­clo­sure, an in­de­pen­dent ju­di­ciary, and free me­dia, leav­ing the ef­fort open to be­ing used for po­lit­i­cal fac­tion-fight­ing.

The gov­ern­ment has also sti­fled in­de­pen­dent anti-cor­rup­tion ini­tia­tives, jail­ing dozens of ac­tivists who had been in­volved in small- scale protests call­ing for gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to dis­close their fi­nan­cial as­sets.

AP

In this Nov. 5, 2007 file photo, Jiang Jiemin, chair­man of PetroChina, left, is mobbed by jour­nal­ists af­ter at­tend­ing an IPO cer­e­mony for PetroChina at the Shang­hai Stock Ex­change in Shang­hai. Jiemin, who led China’s big­gest petroleum com­pany and later was as­signed to over­see state-owned com­pa­nies, went on trial on charges of cor­rup­tion and abuse of power on Mon­day, April 13.

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