[JURIST] The Supreme People’s Court of China on Monday clarified [Xinhua report] that the maximum penalty for the crime of corruption in the form of embezzlement or accepting bribes amounting to high sums of money will be the death penalty. The notice by the China high court explained that in an extremely serious case, bribes and the act of embezzling funds at the amount of 3 million yuan (USD $463,000) will allow for a maximum penalty of capital punishment. The statement provided that there are mitigating factors that may suspend ones sentence to death and that court’s will be lenient to individuals who have cooperated with investigators. Additionally, if the death penalty is considered to harsh for a specific convict, then a life sentence without parole will be issued as an appropriate sentence. The decision by the China high court comes as many corruption cases have recently flooded the country’s courts.
The Chinese government has increased the prosecution of domestic corruption increased following the appointment of President Xi Jinping [BBC profile] in 2013. In February the Hangzhou Christian Council announced [JURIST report] that a prominent Chinese Pastor is under investigation for corruption involving the embezzlement of state funds. In November a Chinese court jailed a top aide to the country’s former security chief [JURIST report] Zhou Yongkang on corruption charges. In October Chinese state media reported that the former head of the country’s biggest oil firm was sentenced to 16 years in prison [JURIST report] for corruption. In September prosecutors in China announced that they will be investigating former China Supreme Court justice Xi Xiaoming on corruption charges [JURIST report]. In August a former general in China’s People’s Liberation Army, Gu Junshan, was sentenced [JURIST report] by a Chinese military court to death with a two year reprieve for corruption charges.