Taking bribes of 500,000 yuan to be major offense

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Taking bribes of half a million yuan (US$80,200) or more will constitute a major offense, according to an updated set of criminal procedural rules for procuratorates.

The rules released by the Supreme People's Procuratorate were modified to fit the demands of the amended Criminal Procedure Law, which will come into effect on January 1.

In the case of a major bribery offense, lawyers have to ask for permission to meet with their clients in custody during the investigation, according to the amended Criminal Procedure Law.

The regulations define major bribery as those involving half a million yuan, featuring vile criminal circumstances, or having major social impacts, or undermining significant national interests.

Chen Weidong, professor at the Law School of China's Renmin University, said the new specifications on major bribery crimes were made in line with China's fast economic development.

The rules are seen as a key judicial explanatory document to guide prosecuting organs' work in criminal cases.

As many as 240 new articles were added with detailed stipulations on defense attorneys, evidence, case reception, special procedures and case management, the SPP said.

China amended its Criminal Procedural Law in March, protecting suspects and defendants from "illegal restriction, detention and arrest."

The phrase "respecting and protecting human rights" was included in its first chapter on basic principles.

The rules are expected to provide all-around standards for prosecutors' roles in criminal lawsuits while ensuring that suspects and defendants enjoy their full rights.

(Xinhua contributed to this story)

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