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.
LIFE GOES ON: After a strict lockdown that left millions on the brink of starvation, Indians embrace work to avoid starvation and get ready for several major festivals India is on course to top the world in COVID-19 cases, but from Maharashtra’s whirring factories to Kolkata’s thronging markets, people are back at work — and eager to forget the pandemic for festival season. After a strict lockdown in March that left millions on the brink of starvation, the government and people of the world’s second-most populous country decided life must go on. Sonali Dange, for instance, has two young daughters and an elderly mother-in-law to look after. She was hospitalized this year in excruciating pain after catching the novel coronavirus. However, after the lockdown exhausted the family’s savings, the 29-year-old had
A COVID-19 outbreak among hundreds of Russian and Ukrainian fishers flown to New Zealand to bolster its struggling deep-sea fishing industry has prompted that country’s largest daily increase in infections in months, authorities said yesterday. More than 230 fishers were flown in from Moscow last week, with 18 of the crew members then testing positive for COVID-19 while in quarantine, New Zealand Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said. The Pacific nation has almost eliminated local transmission of the virus, but regularly records small numbers of new cases in returned travelers. The fishing cluster pushed the daily tally of new infections to 25,
From monitoring vital signs to filtering filthy air and even translating speech into other languages, the COVID-19-fueled boom in mask-wearing has spawned an unusual range of high-tech face coverings. As masks become the norm worldwide, tech companies and researchers are rolling out weird and wonderful models to guard against infection and cash in on a growing trend. One of the wackiest comes from Japan, where start-up Donut Robotics has created a face covering that helps users adhere to social distancing and also acts as a translator. The “C-Face” mask works by transmitting a wearer’s speech to a smartphone via an app, and allows
JAPAN Deer-edible bags invented The deer that roam Nara no longer face discomfort — or far worse — after local firms developed a safe alternative to the plastic packaging discarded by tourists that often ended up in the animals’ stomachs. Last year, several of the 1,300 deer that wander around the ancient capital’s central park were found dead after swallowing plastic bags and food wrappers. Firms collaborated to develop bags that pass safely through the animals’ complex digestive system. The bags are made with recycled pulp from milk cartons and rice bran, one of the main ingredients of the shika senbei savory