A senior lawmaker and his accomplice, a local policeman, were executed in Jinan on Wednesday for killing the official's young mistress with a car bomb.
Duan Yihe, 61, former chairman of the Standing Committee of the Municipal People's Congress of Jinan, capital of Shandong Province in east China, was convicted of murder, along with policeman Chen Zhi, also his nephew-in-law, in July.
Duan was also convicted guilty for taking bribes and asking for money with a total value of 1.69 million yuan (US$223,800). He was also unable to explain the sources of another 1.3 million yuan (US$176,000) in assets, which was beyond his reasonable income level, according to the country's Supreme People's Court, which approved the execution.
Another accomplice Chen Changbing, boss of a local car repair plant, was sentenced to life in prison for helping Chen Zhi to plant the bomb in the car of Liu Haiping, Duan's mistress.
The three defendants appealed against the original verdicts but the Supreme Court upheld the original sentences, saying the car bombing crime "was extremely brutal and had seriously harmed society."
Duan, 61, had maintained an intimate relationship with Liu, a divorced woman 30 years his junior, since 2000, buying her a house and arranging jobs for many of her relatives.
However, he later longed to end the relationship after gradually growing tired of Liu, who repeatedly asked for money, demanded he divorce his wife to marry her and even threatened to report him to the prosecuting authorities.
Duan concocted a plan with his nephew-in-law to cause a traffic accident in order to make her "lose her ability to think," the court was told. Duan claimed it was Chen's error that killed Liu.
At around 5:00 PM on July 9, Chen Zhi and Chen Changbing planted a homemade bomb in Liu's car and detonated the device 30 minutes later by remote control as she was driving. Liu died instantly and two passers-by were injured.
Duan was arrested on July 16. He was expelled from the Communist Party and removed from Party posts soon after the case was exposed.
The swift handling of the case and execution of Duan, a month before the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, is seen as an effort by the ruling party to show the public it is cracking down on rampant corruption among official ranks.
Chinese leaders have warned that deeply-rooted official graft may threaten the party's rule.
Statistics from China's top prosecutor's office show that of the 16 provincial-level or higher officials punished for "serious corruption" in the last five years, 14 kept mistresses.
They were found to have been involved in gambling, money-laundering, illegal real estate deals and "trading power for sex", according to a report released by the Beijing News.
Some of them had more than one mistress, such as former Shanghai party chief Chen Liangyu, sacked last year in connection with a corruption scandal involving the misuse of social security funds, and former Beijing vice-mayor Liu Zhihua, fired for taking bribes and helping his mistress "seek profit."
Some corrupt officials lavish their mistresses with ill-gotten houses, cars or money, while others use their "second wives" as go-betweens for accepting bribes.
A 55-article regulation issued by the State Council, which took effect on June 1, stipulates that officials who engage in extramarital sex can be demoted or fired.
Officials' private lives and public performance will be closely scrutinized under the country's first regulation to systematically stipulate administrative punishments for disreputable conduct.
(Xinhua News Agency September 5, 2007)