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China Probed 240,000 Official Corruption Cases Over Seven Years

Chinese prosecutors investigated more than 240,000 embezzlement, bribery and other cases involving official corruption from 2003 to 2009, according to a government report released today.

China’s State Council, the country’s cabinet, said in a 39-page report that official corruption has evolved in the more than three decades since China initiated economic policies opening the country to private enterprise and foreign investment.

Officials recently have been prosecuted for crimes such as aiding “underworld and evil forces” and corruption causing “mass disturbances and major accidents,” the report said. In the 1980s prosecutions focused on corruption that took advantage of a two-tiered price system, and 1990s corruption centered on embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds and “bending the law,” it said.

Today’s report comes after several official graft cases made headlines across the country. Last year authorities in central China’s Chongqing Municipality arrested more than 1,500 people in connection with bribing police and government officials, smuggling and running illegal businesses. In 2008 Chen Liangyu, the former Communist Party head of Shanghai, was sentenced to 18 years in jail for taking bribes and abuse of power.

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