As the world knows very few things that goes on with Chinese government, be it federal government or local government, is difficult to understand from outside China as with the corruption level in the nation. However, time and again, news have surfaced that Chinese authorities are given legal punishment for corruption.
This time, however, China has broken all barriers to sentence the former vice-mayor of a northern Chinese city with death penalty. This decision has come in the aftermath of the launch of a widespread anti-graft crackdown in 2012.
Zhang Zhongsheng was sentenced on Wednesday in Linfen, Shanxi province, after being convicted of accepting 1.04 billion yuan ($165 million) in bribes.
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Between 1997 and 2013, he accepted massive kickbacks to help others land lucrative contracts – including in the coal mining sector – while serving as a county head and then vice-mayor of Lyuliang, according to Linfen People’s Intermediate Court.
“The death penalty is only applicable to those whose crimes are extremely serious,” the court said in a statement. “When the amount of corruption is particularly large and the circumstances are particularly serious and have a severe social influence, the defendant can be sentenced to death under the law.
“In the 18 charges against Zhang, two were related to bribes exceeding 200 million yuan. He also asked others to pay him more than 88 million yuan.”
The action of Zhang, according to the court, had affected the local economy seriously along with a negative impact in the province and the whole country. He is further accused of not returning about 300 million yuan in illicit assets.
Yang Xiaojun, a law professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said many corrupt officials do not receive a death sentence because the country encourages them to contribute by reporting and disclosing other illegal behavior, which is one of the reasons China has made so much progress fighting corruption since 2012.
“It is called justice tempered with mercy. But this does not mean that corruption is no longer subject to the death penalty,” Yang said.
“Before the trial, many guessed Zhang would not be sentenced to death. The trial powerfully countered that view. The death penalty is an effective deterrent and warning to those with corrupt thoughts.”
While, China is coming out of its iron curtain and displaying the world how serious they are about fighting corruption, there has not been any tangible difference in the Indian corruption landscape. Prime Minister Modi should take concrete steps by arresting and prosecuting the corrupt politicians and join an anti-corruption drive similar to China’s.