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Tuesday, 15 February, 2000, 15:38 GMT
Chinese official sentenced to death

parliament Hu Changqing was in the Chinese cabinet


A senior government official has been sentenced to death for corruption, according to the official Chinese news agency, Xinhua.

The former deputy-governor of Jiangxi province, Hu Changqing, was convicted of taking bribes totalling around half-a-million dollars.

Correspondents say Hu is believed to be the highest-ranking Chinese Government official ever to be sentenced to death on such a charge.

Jiang Zemin President Jiang Zemin launched an anti-corruption drive in 1995
The Nanchang Intermediate People's Court heard how he received cars, gold watches and jewellery worth around 100,000 dollars.

And the court was told that, as a high-level official, he extorted large sums of money.

Packed court

Mr Hu listened impassively as the sentence was read out before a courtroom crowded with 1,000 people.

He received the payments and gifts between 1995 and 1999 when he was serving as a senior official with the State Council, China's cabinet, and later as vice governor of the eastern province of Jiangxi, said Xinhua.

He was also accused of paying bribes to higher officials to improve his career prospects.

Hu has the right to appeal against the sentence.

His case is part of an anti-corruption drive launched by President Jiang Zemin in 1995 with the arrest of former Beijing mayor Chen Xitong.

He was jailed for 16 years in July 1998 for his part in a $2.2 billion corruption scam in Beijing.

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10 Feb 00 |  Asia-Pacific
China 'arrests 2,000 Falun Gong members'

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