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China executes top judicial official for corruption, rape

Former Chongqing deputy police chief and high-ranking judicial official Wen Qiang was executed [press release, in Chinese] in China on Wednesday after an appeal of his corruption charges was rejected [press release] by the Chongqing Intermediate People's Court [official website] in May. Wen was convicted [JURIST report] in April 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 USD $1.76 million. Wen was also found guilty of protecting five organized crime gangs in Chongqing and raping a university student in 2007. Wen is the highest-ranking official to be charged in the corruption probe [AFP report] in Chongqing. Wen's wife, Zhou Xiaoya, was also convicted in April of taking advantage of her husband's position and accepting bribes of 4.49 million yuan and faces eight years in jail.

Wen's execution 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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