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China Executes 14 Billionaires in 8 Years, Culture News Reports

China executed 14 people with assets of at least a 1 billion yuan ($155 million) during the past eight years as the government expanded its fight against corruption, according to the New Culture News newspaper.

The dead include Yuan Baojing, a former stockbroker executed by lethal injection in 2006 for the murder of a man who had tried to blackmail him, according to the report. Wang Zhendong, chairman of the Yingkou Donghua Trading Group, was executed in 2008 for a scheme that persuaded investors to buy and breed ants, the report said.

The newspaper, based in the northern city of Changchun, said it surveyed media reports over the past eight years to compile the data. China’s government is waging a corruption crackdown that resulted in the punishment of 146,517 people last year, the official Xinhua News Agency reported in June.

China boasts 1,900 yuan billionaires, double the number from 2009, according to the 2010 Hurun Wealth Report. The newspaper said 39 Chinese billionaires died of unnatural causes, including 17 suicides, 15 murders, and seven accidents. Work-related illnesses accounted for the deaths of 19 Chinese with wealth of at least 1 billion yuan, the newspaper said.

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