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Senior prosecutor vows to clamp down on official corruption
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A senior Chinese prosecutor vowed on Friday to crack down on dereliction of duty by government officials by tackling corruption magnets such as construction projects.

Wang Zhenchuan, deputy procurator-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate(SPP), said the emphasis would be on power abuse and dereliction of duty that undermined economic order and government investment security, malfeasance in the farming sector and violations of farmers' rights.

Wang underlined the importance of investigating official involvement in serious accidents, and food and drug safety scandals.

He also urged the prosecuting authorities to intensify probes into judiciary and law enforcement power abuse, wrongful judgments and activities that are against individual and democratic rights, especially those who shield mafia-style gangs.

The SPP requires prosecutors to "seriously investigate" illegal practice in big construction projects, public spending and public resources distribution, often hotbeds of corruption.

China's procuratorate has a special division responsible for crimes involving dereliction of official duty, such as bribery and corruption, not handled by the police.

The SPP Friday announced that prosecutors nationwide prosecuted 8,939 officials for duty dereliction in 2008, up 5.4 percent year on year.

Local procuratorate authorities were investigating two cases of environment-related crimes, said an SPP statement Friday.

Seven staff from Yangzonghai Lake management office and the local environment protection bureau are under investigation for allegedly permitting or failing to supervise a company that discharged pollutants into the lake.

The lake was contaminated and unsafe as a drinking water source for 26,000 people from May to July last year, it said.

Prosecutors were also investigating another five government staff, including the deputy head of Bachu County in northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region for allegedly allowing the deforestation of more than 24,000 mu(1,600 hectares) of land. The economic loss was put at 220 million yuan(32.16 million U.S. dollars), according to the statement.

Prosecutors were also involved in the investigation into a massive fire that engulfed a new building of the state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) in downtown Beijing earlier this month.

The fire, which led to the death of a firefighter and seven injuries,was caused by a powerful fireworks show put on by CCTV staff.

(Xinhua News Agency February 28, 2009)

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