A former Chinese senior energy official who had hoarded 200 million yuan ($29.99 million) has been given a suspended death sentence after being convicted of corruption. Wei Pengyuan, who had been the deputy director of the coal department at the National Energy Administration, was accused of abusing his position [Xinhua report] to approve coal projects and take millions in bribes. His death sentence has been suspended for two years, which means that in reality he will remain in prison for life with no chance of parole or early release [Reuters report].
China’s human rights record has drawn international scrutiny, particularly among a crackdown against corruption. In August Chinese authorities released a prominent human rights lawyer from detention. Wang Yu was released on bail after confessing to “subverting state power” [JURIST report]. In July China was set to prosecute [JURIST report] a prominent human rights lawyer on charges of subverting state power. Also last month Amnesty International urged [JURIST report] Chinese authorities to “end their ruthless assault against human rights lawyers and activists.” In June a report claimed that China continues to harvest organs [JURIST report] from prisoners and those opposed to the Chinese Communist Party. Also in June a UN expert presented [JURIST report] a report showing that fundamentalist intolerance is growing throughout the globe and is directly contributing to infringements of the rights to association and peaceful assembly. That same month a prominent Chinese civil rights lawyer was put on trial for fraud during a crackdown on political dissent, a month after China passed a law restricting [JURIST reports] non-governmental organization (NGOs).