Published in News

China Mobile boss gets death penalty

by on25 July 2011

How differently things are done in China
In the US if an executive is found guilty of taking bribes he is given a golden handshake and a long holiday until the dust settles. In China they give him the death penalty.

Zhang Chunjiang, former vice chairman at Hong Kong-listed China Mobile and former vice president at the company's state-owned parent, China Mobile Communications has been sentenced to death after he was found guilty of taking about $1.15 million in bribes from Siemens. It is not as bad as its sounds. The death sentence was suspended and could be commuted down to life in prison after two years of good behaviour.

Still Zhang, 53, will probably not get out of prison which will certainly send a message to other business types behind the bamboo curtain – don't get caught. He took $1.15 million in bribes between 1994 and 2009, a period in which he served as a senior telecom official in Liaoning province, followed by posts at China Netcom Group and China Mobile, Xinhua said. The charges against him also included helping bribers with receiving business contracts and "recovering debts."

China has vowed to eradicate corruption, which represents a potential threat to economic growth as well as a source of public discontent. However so far in a country where the ruling Communist Party is essentially the only arbiter of officials' conduct, most of the whistleblowers end up locked up themselves. Zhang was also head of the powerful Communist Party committee at China Mobile's state-owned parent.
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