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Bribe-Givers to Be Blacklisted

The Procuratorial Daily, the official newspaper of the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP), reported yesterday that a trial scheme blacklisting those who offer bribes to officials will be implemented nationwide in January.

The announcement to set up the "bribery convictions database" was made by Jia Chunwang, Procurator-General of the SPP, at a national procuratorial conference in Beijing on November 1.

Wang Zhenchuan, SPP vice-procurator-general, said the measure would be important for "bringing all social forces into full play" to prevent corruption, and would have a positive impact on healthy economic and social development and strengthen legal supervision.

Provincial-level procuratorates will make bribery files available for public access by the end of the year and the system will be linked nationally at the beginning of next year.

On the blacklist will be individuals and units who have offered bribes since 1997 in sectors such as construction, finance, education, medical and government procurement.

The SPP, in collaboration with other government departments, introduced a pilot in some provinces last year and the results were encouraging. In Sichuan, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, construction contractors who were put on the blacklist were barred from bidding for new projects.

According to the Criminal Law, those offering or accepting bribes are subject to punishment: the maximum penalties are the death sentence for a bribe-taker and a life term for people offering bribes.

Chen Xingliang, a Peking University law professor, said punishments for bribe-takers are usually much heavier than for bribers because prosecutors depend on cooperation from the latter in investigations.

He added that the new move can only play a supplementary role because eradication of corruption depends on management reform in many sectors, such as increasing openness and transparency of economic activities.

In 2000, procuratorate bodies charged 1,298 people with offering bribes while the number last year was 1,952.

Last week, the National People's Congress ratified the UN Convention against Corruption, which deems offering bribes or "undue advantages" to public officials criminal offences.

(China Daily November 3, 2005)

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