[JURIST] The Hebei Province People's High Court in northern China on Wednesday upheld [China Daily report] a life sentence for former vice president of China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) [official website, in Chinese] Huang Songyou. Huang was convicted [JURIST report] in January of bribery and embezzlement, and sentenced to life imprisonment. Huang is the highest-ranking judge to be charged with corruption [China Daily report] since the founding of the People's Republic of China. Between 2005 and 2008, Huang allegedly embezzled 3.9 million yuan (about $574,000 USD) while serving as vice president of the SPC, and he allegedly embezzled 1.2 million yuan (about $175,000 USD) while serving as president of the Intermediate People's Court of Zhanjiang in 1997.
Huang's conviction comes amid initiatives by the Communist Party of China (CPC) [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] to fight corruption in the judicial system in order to restore public confidence. In March, the president of the SPC, Wang Shengjun [official profile, in Chinese], called for increased efforts to fight corruption [JURIST report] in the country's court system. In January, the SPC announced new anti-corruption rules [JURIST report] in an effort to increase public confidence in the rule of law. Chinese courts are under the control of the CPC, which announced plans [JURIST report] earlier that month to increase oversight of the families of government officials to control corruption.