Former Tibetan official falls for bribery scan in China for the last time

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BEIJING (AP) — A former deputy governor of China’s expanding Tibet region has been accused of taking bribes, state media reported on Friday.

Zhang Yongze is the latest senior former official to be indicted on corruption charges just weeks before the ruling Communist Party’s grand convention, whose leader Xi Jinping made the fight against corruption a signature issue.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported that Zhang “utilized from his previous positions and his power to benefit others” while receiving government contracts and promotions, in return “illegally accepting large sums of money and valuables”. saying.

Zhang’s case is being handled by high-ranking officials and prosecutors and courts in western Shaanxi province, in line with the practice of escalating cases when serious charges are involved. Located high up on the Tibetan Plateau, the region is rich in minerals and is administered as a virtual police state to guard against pro-independence sentiments among the indigenous population, who are ethnically, linguistically and culturally different from China’s Han majority.

Deadly anti-government protests swept the region in 2008, fueled by harsh Communist Party rule and the loss of economic opportunities for Chinese immigrants. Security forces brutally suppressed the protests, with an unknown number of people imprisoned or executed.

On Wednesday, a top bribe hunter at China’s intelligence and counterintelligence ministry was charged with bribery. Liu Yanping, who heads the Department of State Security’s branch of the party’s Central Disciplinary Inspection Commission, was another reminder of Xi’s vow to attack corruption “between flies and tigers alike.”

On Friday, former deputy police minister Sun Lijun was sentenced to death with a two-year suspended sentence for stock market manipulation, bribery and other crimes. The case involved at least two former Cabinet officials.

State media said Liu accepted a “large” amount of property from others in exchange for favors. These often involve derailing investigations or offering promotions for cash.

Earlier this month, he was expelled from the party in a sign that he would be charged, tried, and almost certainly serving a long prison sentence.

In this initial investigation, Liu was found to have “lost his ideals and beliefs”, being “outright corrupt politically”. He “bartered political power for interests and turned his power into a tool for seeking political capital, self-interest and wealth,” the reports said.

The reports found that Liu “involved in superstitious activities” and accepted invitations from private businessmen to golf games, banquets, tours and medical services that “may compromise his impartiality in the performance of his official duties.”

In Sun’s case, a former justice minister and a former ruling party official accused of collaborating with him received similar sentences. Sun was found guilty of collecting 646 million yuan ($91 million) as a bribe and was accused of using his official position in 2018 to manipulate stock trading to help a trader avoid losses. He was also accused of selling official business and leaving his post during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Previously, Sun was named in a lawsuit filed by the US Department of Justice against Las Vegas casino magnate Steve Wynn, who wanted to compel Wynn to register as a foreign agent. The department cited Wynn’s lobbying work for the Chinese government.

The lawsuit said senior officials, including Sun, sought Wynn’s help in trying to deny a Chinese national’s visa application, according to the complaint. Beijing has demanded that the man accused of corruption and seeking political asylum be extradited to China.

Xi launched his anti-bribery campaign shortly after he took over the party leadership in late 2012. It was at times seen as a tool to eliminate political rivals and intimidate the massive bureaucracy into doing their bidding. It has also sometimes sparked a public backlash, as in the case of strict enforcement of zero COVID restrictions, which has disrupted the economy and disrupted the lives of millions.

At the party congress, Xi is expected to try to break the tradition and reward himself as a third five-year leader.

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