Global Policy Forum

China's Ruling Communist Party Expels


By Joe McDonald

Associated Press
April 20, 2000

Beijing - The ruling Communist Party expelled a senior official Thursday and turned him over to prosecutors. The official stands accused of taking $4.6 million in bribes over a six-year period. Cheng Kejie, 66, is one of the highest-ranking officials implicated in a campaign to root out the corruption that pervades public life and is undermining popular acceptance of communist rule.

Last month, a deputy provincial governor was executed for taking bribes. Other senior officials are suspected of taking part in a vast smuggling ring in the southeastern port of Xiamen. The party recommended legal authorities prosecute Cheng, a deputy chairman of China's national legislature, a party spokesman said in comments carried by the official Xinhua News Agency.

A commentary to be published Friday in the party newspaper People's Daily and carried today by Xinhua said Cheng's punishment shows the party will deal sternly with violators, "no matter who they are or how high their rank." Hong Kong newspapers say Cheng has been under house arrest since August.

The first official confirmation Cheng was in trouble came when the government said last month that he would not appear at the national legislative session that was held March 5-15. That announcement said he was suspected of "economic crimes." Cheng, a member of China's Zhuang ethnic minority, was chairman of Guangxi in 1990-98 and deputy Communist Party secretary for the region.

His deputy chairman, Xu Bingsong, was sentenced in August to life in prison for selling official favors in the impoverished region. The area is a haven for smugglers and a key target of the crackdown.

The Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post said Thursday that the executive vice chairman of the province, Liu Zhibing, has been detained by anti-corruption investigators. Four other Guangxi officials were arrested on corruption charges, the newspaper said. The arrests were related to Cheng's case, the newspaper said, citing an unnamed source. It said Liu's two sons and a son-in-law were arrested last year on suspicion of smuggling, tax evasion and drug trafficking.

According to Xinhua, Cheng started abusing his post in 1992 when he took $2.1 million and $1 million to lower the price on land sold for a parking lot. Cheng took $260,000 the same year for awarding building contracts, Xinhua said. Between 1994 and 1998, it said, he took a mix of Chinese, U.S. and Hong Kong currency totaling $110,000 to approve promotions for 13 officials.

In 1998, Cheng collected $1.1 million from companies that got cut-price government sugar, cooking oil and other commodities, the report said. Cheng's wife, Li Ping, also was involved in collecting bribes, Xinhua said. It didn't say what punishment she might face. "Cheng confessed to all the abovementioned illegal acts, and expressed his desire to return all his illegal income to the nation," Xinhua said.

Cheng would be the most senior leader punished since Beijing's Communist Party boss, Chen Xitong, was sentenced in 1998 to 16 years in prison for graft. In another high-profile case, the deputy governor of the southern province of Jiangxi was executed March 8 for taking bribes. Smuggling probes that implicated officials in two coastal provinces also have caused friction among senior leaders and led to questions about party unity.

Investigators are looking into a ring in Xiamen suspected of smuggling $9.5 billion worth of oil and other goods through the port in Fujian province. Among those implicated is the wife of Beijing's current Communist Party secretary, who is a protege of President Jiang Zemin.

In neighboring Guangdong province, six people were sentenced to death last May for smuggling. They included the chief customs agent in the port city of Zhanjiang, near Hong Kong.


FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.