Main­land China tough­ens sen­tenc­ing for cor­rup­tion: Xin­hua

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

China on Satur­day amended the coun­try’s crim­i­nal law, tight­en­ing cor­rup­tion sen­tenc­ing and re­clas­si­fy­ing sex with un­der­age pros­ti­tutes as rape, state media re­ported.

The stand­ing com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress (NPC) said peo­ple con­victed on se­ri­ous cor­rup­tion charges and who were handed death sen­tences sus­pended for two years will have those con­verted to life in prison af­ter the two-year pe­riod, Xin­hua News Agency re­ported.

The change is to “safe­guard ju­di­cial fair­ness” and pre­vent “the most cor­rupt crim­i­nals from serv­ing shorter prison terms through com­mu­ta­tion,” Xin­hua quoted the NPC as say­ing.

Ruan Qilin, a pro­fes­sor at the China Univer­sity of Po­lit­i­cal Science and Law, said that the change to cor­rup­tion sen­tenc­ing was aimed at of­fi­cials who use illegal means to have their sen­tences com­muted or to achieve pa­role or non-prison sen­tences, the re­port said.

Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping has launched a much-pub­li­cized drive to crack down on cor­rup­tion, vow­ing to take on both se­nior as well as low-level of­fi­cials.

Crit­ics, how­ever, say there are no safe­guards against the cam­paign be­ing used for po­lit­i­cal pur­poses and that no sys­temic re­forms have been in­tro­duced to fight graft.

China also re­pealed the crime of sex with pros­ti­tutes who are un­der­age and in­stead made it rape, a crime sub­ject to harsher pun­ish­ment, the Xin­hua re­port said.

Pre­vi­ously un­der the law, peo­ple who had sex with pros­ti­tutes aged be­low 14 years old faced a max­i­mum of 15 years in prison, the agency said in an ear­lier re­port.

It added that those con­victed of rap­ing a child may face the death sen­tence.

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