Tue, Sep 26, 2017 - Page 6 News List

Beijing jails ex-Tianjin mayor, fines tech firms

WATCHDOG:The Cyberspace Administration of China said it had handed down the maximum penalties to Tencent, Baidu and Weibo for not censoring content

Reuters, BEIJING

China yesterday jailed former Tianjin mayor Huang Xingguo (黃興國) for 12 years, after he took more than 40 million yuan (US$6 million) in bribes to push through promotions and land approvals, a court in Hebei Province said.

Dozens of senior officials have been investigated or jailed since Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) assumed power, vowing to root out corruption and warning that the problem threatens the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) grip on power.

Huang, who was also acting chief of the CPP in the northern port city, became its mayor in 2008, before being investigated on suspicion of corruption in September last year.

He abused his power to obtain bribes of more than 40 million yuan in exchange for promotions and land approvals, the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People’s Court said on its official Weibo blog.

The corrupt behavior spanned Huang’s political career of more than two decades spent in several cities, from previous posts in Ningbo and Taizhou in Zhejiang Province to his time in Tianjin, the statement added.

The CCP said in January it would prosecute Huang, 63, for graft.

He had made “presumptuous comments” on government policy and had damaged party unity, the investigation by the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection found.

He was also found to have accepted gifts, travelled with an “entourage” and worked to further his career by buying support and giving jobs to friends.

The court said its sentence took into account the guilt and remorse Huang expressed over his offences, besides his cooperative attitude and the evidence he gave investigators.

In other developments, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) yesterday handed down maximum penalties to several of the country’s top tech firms, including Tencent Holdings, Baidu and Weibo Corp, for failing to properly censor online content.

Notices posted by the cyber watchdog said the firms would receive the “maximum penalty” for failing to remove fake news and pornography as well as content that “incites ethic tension” and “threatens social order.”

It is the first time that the agency has levied the maximum fines against tech firms under a new law introduced in June, as it seeks to tighten its grip on the Internet.

“The Internet does not operate outside of the law ... the CAC will seriously implement the new cybersecurity law and other regulations to increase territorial supervision and enforcement efforts regarding the Internet,” the agency said.

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