Former Chinese minister of railways Liu Zhijun (劉志軍) goes on trial for corruption today in one of the country’s biggest graft cases in years, charged with taking massive bribes and steering the awarding of highly lucrative projects.
The Beijing Second Intermediate People’s Court told Xinhua news agency that it will hear the case against 60-year-old former minister.
Liu spearheaded China’s showcase bullet train network when he oversaw the powerful ministry.
Today is a work day in China because of rescheduling to accommodate an upcoming national holiday.
Liu’s lawyer, Qian Lieyang, confirmed the trial date and said he plans to argue for the charges to be reduced to misdemeanors during the trial.
Prosecutors have said Liu — as a government functionary — sought benefits for others by taking advantage of his position and accepting financial incentives from others.
ABUSE OF POWER
They say Liu engaged in malpractices for personal gain and abuse of power, leading to huge losses of public property.
Liu was ousted in February 2011 for unspecified discipline violations. Months later, a high-speed train crash killed 40 people near the eastern city of Wenzhou.
Earlier this year, Beijing dismantled the Ministry of Railways and separated its regulatory and commercial arms in a bid to reduce bureaucracy and boost efficiency.