Chinese Anti-Poverty Director Who Got Rich on Bribes Sentenced

A former senior official in China’s national anti-poverty office was given a suspended death sentence for taking more than 40 million yuan ($6.5 million) in bribes.

Fan Zengyu, who led foreign investment projects at the State Council’s leading group for alleviating poverty, sought or accepted more than three dozen bribes between 2009 and 2010 from a Shanxi businesswoman, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court found Wednesday, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. Fan used his position to boost the image of the businesswoman, Ding Shumiao, the chairwoman of Boyou Investment Management Corp.

Fan was sentenced to death, suspended for two years, which Chinese authorities normally commute to life imprisonment.

The verdict against the former poverty fighter comes amid a nationwide corruption crackdown led by President Xi Jinping that had ensnared more than 100,000 Communist Party officials as of December. China’s top leaders are still grappling with how to spread the benefits of the country’s three-decade economic boom that made many people rich and resulted in rampant corruption.

While the country’s official Gini co-efficient, a measure of inequality, was at 0.469 last year, down slightly from 0.473 the previous year, others put the number much higher. A reading of zero equates to perfect equality and one represents maximum inequality. The internationally-accepted danger line that suggests inequality will lead to social unrest is 0.4 percent.

Ding was sentenced to 20 years prison in December for bribery and illegal business activities. She was found to have colluded with the former Railways Minister Liu Zhijun to help clients win contracts valued at more than 180 billion yuan, severely disrupting the bidding system for railways project.

Liu was given a suspended death sentence after he was convicted of bribery and abuse of power in 2013.

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