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China issues new anti-bribery guidelines in crackdown on corruption

[JURIST] The Chinese Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate [official websites] jointly published new rules [text, in Chinese] Sunday which broaden the definition of bribery to encompass arrangements where officials do not personally receive money, gifts, or favors and close legal loopholes where family members and other third parties receive the bribe on behalf of government officials. The new regulations will allow authorities to prosecute government officials who either purchase property or services at prices "obviously below" market price or sell property or services at levels "obviously above" market prices in exchange for favors. The rules will also treat instances where government officials enter into a false business "partnership" to receive financial gain without putting forward investments as corruption, and will not differentiate between bribes received prior or after an official has left office, but instead focus on whether illegal benefits were exchanged to influence officials.

The Chinese government is currently engaging a publicized campaign against corrupt public officials [JURIST news archive]. Updated regulations were passed in April in an attempt to ensure the integrity of public servants [JURIST report]. The government also plans to establish [JURIST report] a "National Corruption Prevention Bureau." Chinese President Hu Jintao [BBC profile] in January vowed [JURIST report] to build a cleaner Communist Party of China [official backgrounder], which has been plagued by corruption since China initiated widespread market-economy reforms in the late-1970s. AP has more. Xinhua has additional coverage.

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