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BBC's Adam Brookes in Beijing
"If Cheng is found guilty he may be shot"
 real 28k

The BBC's Duncan Hewitt
"China's prime minister has said no one is safe in an anti-corruption campaign"
 real 28k

Thursday, 20 April, 2000, 09:40 GMT 10:40 UK
China expels 'corrupt' official
Hu Changqing
Hu Changqing was executed last month for taking bribes
A senior Chinese official has been expelled from the Communist Party after being accused of corruption.

The official, Cheng Kejie, was vice-chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) - the Chinese parliament - and is one of the highest-ranking officials to be caught in the current government's anti-corruption campaign.

There are no official details of his case, but newspapers in Hong Kong say Mr Cheng is suspected of taking $4.8m in bribes.

In the same anti-corruption campaign, Hu Changqing, a former deputy governor of the central province of Jiangxi, was executed last month for taking more than $650,000 in bribes.

Corruption scam

Mr Cheng's expulsion was announced by the Communist Party's Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection, China's top prosecutorial body.


Guangxi
Mr Cheng's case seems to be linked with a corruption scam in Guangxi province
His case is believed to be linked to a wide-ranging corruption scam in Guangxi which has already exposed two former vice chairmen of the provincial government, Xu Bingsong and Liu Zhibing.

Mr Cheng served as the region's head and deputy party secretary from 1990 to 1997 and was brought to Beijing as a vice chairman of the NPC in 1998 - at the behest of NPC chairman Li Peng, China's second-most powerful leader.

Former Guangxi vice chairman Xu Bingsong was arrested in June 1998 and was sentenced to life in prison for his role in a $66,000 corruption scandal.

Liu Zhibing, the other Guangxi vice chairman, has been accused of protecting his children, other relatives and colleagues who were allegedly involved in smuggling, tax evasion and drug trafficking, the Hong Kong Ming Pao daily has reported.

Self-investigation

On the eve of the NPC's annual legislative session last month, China announced it was investigating Mr Cheng on suspicion of taking bribes.

He did not take part in the 11-day meeting.

A spokesman for the NPC gave no further details of Mr Cheng's alleged crimes at the time, saying only that he had taken leave for a "self investigation".

Mr Cheng has reportedly been under house arrest in Inner Mongolia since last summer.

The graft is believed to have been exposed during the wide-reaching anti-corruption campaign headed by Premier Zhu Rongji in recent months which is aimed at rooting out corruption in the communist party and government.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin has repeatedly called the fight against dishonest government a "matter of life and death" for the party.

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See also:

18 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
China escapes UN censure
16 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Beijing stresses party role
08 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Top Chinese official executed
04 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Chinese premier attacks corruption
15 Feb 00 | Asia-Pacific
Chinese official sentenced to death
31 Jan 00 | Asia-Pacific
New rules for Chinese judges
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