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Corrupt Officials Tried Far from Home
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Another high-level official was tried in China this month on corruption charges. Like many before him he was not tried far from the place in which he worked and carried influence.

Wang Youjie, deputy director of the standing committee of Henan provincial people's congress, stood trial in Jingzhou of Hubei province for receiving bribes worth 6.34 million yuan (about US$812,820) and possessing 7.56 million yuan (around US$969,230) worth of property he couldn't account for.

In November, Wang Zhaoyao, former deputy secretary of Anhui provincial committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was tried in Jinan of Shandong province.

"The measure aims to prevent interference in the legal process, which is a real threat in places where the official once worked, and ensure fair trials," said Chen Weidong, law professor of Beijing-based People's University of China.

He said judges from other locations are more likely to be independent and fair in the trials, noting that local judges might have been promoted by the official on trial. He called the practice "a necessary and effective measure" to cope with corruption.

The practice of trying high-rank officials on corruption charges in other locations started in 2001 with the trial of Ma Xiangdong, former deputy mayor of Shenyang, in northeast China's Liaoning province.

"When the CPC's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection was investigating Ma's case, the investigators found Ma's wife was trying to influence the investigation through Ma's network of connections," said Ren Jianmin, deputy director of the anti-corruption research center of Tsinghua University.

"So the commission decided to try Ma in another place," he said. Ma was tried in a court in east China's Jiangsu province.

Since Ma's trial more than 90 percent of the trials of high-level officials, mainly those at the ministerial or mayoral levels, have followed this practice.

In these cases the trial courts are designated by the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Supreme People's Court. Ren said trying high-rank officials charged with corruption in other places was becoming standard practice.

(Xinhua News Agency December 31, 2006)

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