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January 28, 2010

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Court staff get new rules on bribes, sex

CHINA has tightened its rules governing law court officials, warning staff not to leave the country without approval or have sex with litigants.

The move comes after a former senior judge received a life sentence for corruption.

Huang Songyou was dismissed as vice president of the Supreme People's Court in 2008 on suspicion of taking bribes and embezzlement. Earlier this month he was sentenced to life imprisonment, the most senior judge ever convicted on graft charges.

In an effort to prevent abuse of judicial power and fight corruption, China's Supreme People's Court issued a new regulation yesterday listing a great number of restrictions on court staff, ranging from taking bribes to committing adultery with litigants.

Huang, former SPC vice president, received the life sentence on January 19 for taking bribes and embezzlement. Huang was convicted of taking more than 3.9 million yuan (US$574,000) in bribes from 2005 to 2008.

The regulation stipulates that judiciary staff will be punished if they are found meddling and intervening in court cases, giving bribes to law-enforcement personnel, beating or verbally abusing petitioners and over-running timetables to enforce court rulings.

Judiciary staff will receive punishments ranging from demerits on their records, demotion, removal from posts and dismissal, according to the regulation.

Since 1991, the SPC had mapped out different regulations, but some of them overlapped and some had become outdated, according to an SPC official.

The new regulation prohibits judiciary staff from leaving the Chinese mainland without authorization. They will be punished if they commit adultery or have sexual relations with litigants or relatives of litigants.


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