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Commercial Bribery Cases on the Rise
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The number of commercial corruption cases coming before Chinese courts rose steeply to 5,662 in the first nine months of 2006 despite harsher penalties, according to the Supreme People's Court (SPC).


Xiong Xuanguo, vice president of the SPC, said courts at all levels dealt with 5,429 commercial bribery cases involving civil servants during the first three quarters, up 10.43 percent year-on-year.


The cases involved public officials charged with accepting bribes from commercial organizations in return for exerting influence or providing services.


The remaining 233 cases involved company employees receiving handouts from other companies in return for business favors akin to insider trading, up 3.51 percent from the same period last year, he said.


"We have intensified penalties for commercial corruption this year. About 21 percent of criminals convicted in such cases were jailed for periods of more than five years," said Xiong.


Wang Zhenchuan, deputy procurator-general with the Supreme People's Procuratorate, said prosecutors investigated over 9,000 commercial corruption cases during the first nine months.


The cases mainly occurred in the fields of construction, land acquisition, ownership transfers of state-owned enterprises, government procurement, medicine and medical appliances trade, banking, securities and futures.


Premier Wen Jiabao early in the year pledged to prioritize the tackling of commercial corruption eliminate persistent problems that have infringed upon the public interests as well as strengthening the management of public servants.


(Xinhua News Agency November 21, 2006)

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