Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


China ex-minister gets suspended death

08 July 2013, 11:28

Beijing - A Chinese court on Monday gave former railways minister Liu Zhijun a suspended death sentence, the highest-ranking official to be punished for corruption since new leaders took office vowing to clean up the ruling Communist Party.

Once hailed as the "father" of China's flagship high-speed rail network, Liu, 60, was convicted of bribery and abuse of power by a court in Beijing, the official Xinhua news agency said.

State television showed the diminutive, bespectacled defendant standing impassively in the dock in a dark jacket, flanked by two police.

Liu was sacked as railways minister in 2011 after eight years in the post, and the scandal surrounding him is reported to have involved as much as $130m.

He was charged and convicted of accepting $10.5m in bribes to help 11 people secure contracts and promotions, Xinhua said, adding that he "took advantage of his positions" and "inflicted colossal losses in the public assets, violating rights and interests of the state and the people".

"Liu Zhijun was sentenced to the death penalty with two years' suspension," a court official told AFP by phone.

Flagship development programmes

Under Chinese law the death penalty can be imposed for taking bribes exceeding $16 000. Suspended death sentences are normally commuted to life imprisonment.

The court also ordered all of Liu's personal property to be confiscated and issued a separate sentence of 10 years in prison for abuse of power, Xinhua said.

China's rail system - which has cost hundreds of billions of dollars - has been one of the ruling party's flagship development projects in recent years, and the country now boasts the world's longest high-speed network.

But a high-speed crash in the eastern city of Wenzhou killed about 40 people in 2011, sparking public criticism that authorities compromised safety in their rush to expand the network.

The railways ministry was disbanded in March, with its administrative functions handed to the transport ministry and its commercial role to a new China Railway Corporation.

The country's new leaders under President Xi Jinping have vowed to fight corruption, identifying it as a threat to Communist Party rule.

In January, Xi was quoted by state media telling the party's corruption watchdog there would be "no leniency" against wrongdoing.

Numerous officials under investigation

In May Xinhua reported that China was investigating a former top state planner Liu Tienan for alleged "serious disciplinary violations" - phrasing which typically refers to corruption.

Bo Xilai, former party chief of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, is also expected to face trial for allegedly taking bribes and helping cover up his wife's murder of a British businessman.

Numerous low-level officials have come under investigation after social media users exposed alleged corruption, with some cases involving expensive watches or multiple mistresses.

A longtime railways official, Liu studied transport management and held senior posts in several provinces before joining the national railways ministry in 1994 and rising to minister in 2003.

Users of China's popular microblog service Sina Weibo were sceptical about his punishment, with some condemning it as too lenient.

"Such good news for corrupted officials. This is encouraging them, because the worst result will just be a suspended death penalty," said one.

Another lamented: "Oh dear, now he's going to keep wasting taxpayers' money."



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...