A central China city land official has been sentenced to five years in prison for taking bribes and approving irregular land deals, according to a local court.
Dong Jili, a former official with the Land and Resources Bureau of Zhengzhou, capital of Henan Province, was convicted of taking 50,000 yuan (US$6,300), US$10,000 and a voucher card worth 10,000 yuan (US$1,260) from a local real estate developer from June to August 2004.
The People's Court of Zhengzhou High and New Technology Industries Development Zone heard that Dong helped the company obtain official approvals of two land deals that were not in compliance with land use rules, after taking three bribes from the company's deputy general manager surnamed Wang.
Dong's personal property worth 150,000 yuan (US$19,000) was also confiscated by the court.
Dong had submitted all the bribes to the discipline inspection department of the provincial committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), when the case was first exposed.
China has been strengthening supervision on land development, an area regarded by experts "power and capital intensive" and a breeding ground for corruption, given land transactions are the most effective way for local governments to boost economic returns.
In September, the central authorities gave serious warnings to two senior Henan officials, Li Xinmin, secretary of the Provincial Political and Judiciary Committee of the CPC, and Wang Wenchao, party chief of CPC Zhengzhou city committee, for illegal expansion of a post secondary school campus on to farmland.
In August, the central government criticized the Inner Mongolia autonomous regional government for failing to stop an unauthorized power station project.
All transgressions of laws or regulations on land use must be prosecuted, while farmland resources should be protected and the rights and interests of farmers must be safeguarded, the central government has ordered.
The government would step up inspections of land transactions and crack down on corruption arising from land transfers, said Linghu An, deputy head of the National Audit Office.
(Xinhua News Agency December 6, 2006)