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Chinese ethnic affairs official sentenced to death for corruption
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Du Maoji, former deputy director of the general office of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission (SEAC), was recently sentenced to death for corruption with a two-year reprieve at the first trial.

The information was released by the Zhengzhou Railway Transportation Intermediate Court on Tuesday.

According to the court, from June 2001 to December 2006, Du, who is also former general manager of the Minzu World market, withheld and embezzled the rents paid by Zhang Maoshun, a vendor in the market, and embezzled public funds of the market individually or with the market's deputy manager Liu Jun and finance manager Li Jinglan.

The total involved was as much as 25.92 million yuan (about 3.8 million U.S. dollars). Du himself obtained 20.62 million yuan.

Du also offered help to a Beijing-based construction group in bidding on a construction project offered by the SEAC, after accepting 1 million yuan in bribes in 2003.

A total of 20.09 million yuan, as well as 6,000 U.S. dollars and two automobiles, were recovered or returned by Du.

The court held that Du, as a government employee, committed the crime of corruption, as he took advantage of his post to illegally obtain public funds through embezzlement and cheating. He also committed the crime of bribery, as he accepted bribes and used his post to seek advantage for others.

According to the court, the case was a serious one. But considering the fact that the defendant confessed his crime and most of the illicit money was recovered, Du was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve, deprived of political rights for life and stripped of all personal assets.

Other defendants in the case were sentenced to jail terms of less than 15 years, as they confessed, provided important evidence for the investigation and returned illicit money, said a court source.

(Xinhua News Agency September 23, 2008)

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