De­fi­ant main­land China ex­ec­u­tive de­nies cor­rup­tion charges: re­port

The China Post - - GUIDE POST -

A for­mer se­nior ex­ec­u­tive of main­land China’s largest oil pro­ducer de­nied most cor­rup­tion charges at his trial, state-run me­dia re­ported Tues­day, a rare ex­am­ple of de­fi­ance in a coun­try where al­most all crim­i­nal de­fen­dants are con­victed.

Tao Yuchun, ex-pres­i­dent of a gas sub­sidiary of state-owned China Na­tional Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), was ac­cused of abuse of power, em­bez­zle­ment, tak­ing bribes and seek­ing il­le­gal gains for rel­a­tives and friends to­tal­ing around 300 mil­lion yuan (US$48 mil­lion), the South­ern Me­trop­o­lis Daily said.

He only ad­mit­ted the fi­nal charge but re­jected all the oth­ers at his trial on Mon­day in Zhuhai, in the south­ern prov­ince of Guang­dong, it said.

Tao smiled at his friends and rel­a­tives in the gallery at the start of the hear­ing and ad­dressed the court through­out in the di­alect of Shan­dong, his na­tive prov­ince in eastern China, rather than us­ing of­fi­cial Man­darin, the news­pa­per added.

His per­for­mance was a marked con­trast to the norm in China, where the con­vic­tion rate is 99.93 per­cent and most de­fen­dants adopt a co­op­er­a­tive and com­pli­ant at­ti­tude in court as they seek to se­cure le­niency in ex­change for con­fes­sion.

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

Jiang Jiemin, China’s for­mer state as­sets chief and an ex-chair­man of CNPC, con­fessed to cor­rup­tion at his trial on Mon­day, tele­vi­sion pic­tures showed.

Jiang is re­garded as an ally of Zhou Yongkang, him­self a for­mer CNPC chief who went on to be­come China’s hugely pow­er­ful in­ter­nal se­cu­rity chief but who was charged with bribery and abuse of power this month.

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.

But in the ab­sence of sys­temic re­forms, crit­ics say the drive is open to be­ing mis­used for in­ter­nal po­lit­i­cal pur­poses.

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

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