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Reporter jailed for 13 years for fraud, bribery

A Beijing reporter, who claimed to be able to help people change jobs and transfer universities, and took 750,000 yuan in bribes, was sentenced to 13 years in jail.

Guo Huaimian, 38, who worked as a reporter at the Chinese People's Political and Consultative Conference Daily, was also fined 13,000 yuan, according to the sentence handed down in Fengtai district court on Nov 2.

From May 2008 to March 2009, Guo was paid 400,000 yuan by doctor Zhang Puyi, who wanted to be transferred from a county-level city hospital in Jilin province to the provincial capital Changchun.

Guo promised he could help Zhang, who worked at a traditional Chinese medicine hospital in Yushu city, transfer to the best hospital in Changchun.

Guo made various excuses about why the transfer was delayed until he was arrested on March 2. He had resigned from the newspaper a month earlier.

At the same time, Guo was paid 350,000 yuan from Chen Yanjuan, who wanted his friend's daughter to transfer to Peking University from Beijing Normal University. Guo claimed he would use the money to make the transfer happen, but he then lost the money gambling.

Outside court, Jia Changxing, Guo's lawyer, told METRO that his client didn't swindle Zhang. He said Zhang offered Guo 400,000 yuan to bribe people in power and Guo did not ask for the money.

He said Guo did have connections but he did not have time to finish the deal, and so it should not be regarded as a scam.

Jia said it was the same situation with the university transfer case. Guo has signed a repayment agreement with the girl's family on a court order.

Jia quoted Guo as saying: "I caused big economic loss to the victims and I would like to earn the money to compensate them after my release from prison."

It was reported by the China Youth Daily on Nov 28 that 10 reporters took 2.6 million yuan in July 2008 to cover up a coal mine accident in which 34 miners were killed. The reporters were arrested and will face criminal charges.

The General Administration of Press and Publication upgraded the press cards for journalists from February. Journalists' information is put on the administration's website so that genuine reporters can be distinguished from fake ones.