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China court sentences former top judicial official to death for corruption

[JURIST] A Chinese Intermediate People's Court in Chongqing on Wednesday sentenced [Xinhua report] former deputy police chief and high-ranking judicial official Wen Qiang to death. Wen was convicted of accepting bribes, protecting criminal gangs, rape, and being unable to justify his large amount of personal assets. The court's verdict stated that from 1996 to 2009 Wen accepted 12 million yuan in bribes, or approximately $1.76 million. Wen was also found guilty of protecting five organized crime gangs in Chongqing and raping a university student in 2007. The verdict stated that Wen would be stripped of his political rights [China Daily report] for life, and his personal property would be confiscated. Wen is the highest-ranking official to be charged in the corruption probe [AFP report] in Chongqing. Wen's wife, Zhou Xiaoya, was convicted of taking advantage of her husband's position and accepting bribes of 4.49 million yuan and faces eight years in jail.

Wen's conviction comes amid China's continuing attempt to eradicate government corruption [JURIST news archive]. In March, the Hebei Province People's High Court upheld a life sentence for former vice president of China's Supreme People's Court (SPC), Huang Songyou, who had been convicted [JURIST reports] of bribery and embezzlement. Earlier that month, SPC president 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. In October, two Chongqing courts sentenced [JURIST report] six individuals to death for their connections with organized crime gangs.

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