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January 20, 2010

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Ex-vp of top court is sentenced to life in prison for bribe-taking

A former top judge of the country was sentenced yesterday to life in prison on charges of bribery and graft.

Huang Songyou, 53-year old former vice president of China's Supreme People's Court, was convicted of abusing his post by taking more than 3.9 million yuan (US$574,000) in bribes from 2005 to 2008, said the Intermediate People's Court of Langfang City in north China's Hebei Province.

The court also ordered his personal property confiscated and his political rights revoked for life.

The court said Huang was given a severe punishment because he was a 30-year veteran in the legal system.

Huang, removed from his post on October 28, was the first chief judge and the highest ranking law official to be removed for law and discipline violations since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

Huang was also found guilty of embezzling, with others, 3.08 million yuan in 1997 when he was president of Zhanjiang Intermediate People's Court in south China's Guangdong Province. He took 1.2 million yuan from the graft.

The country's disciplinary authority said Huang led a lavish and decadent life.

He was labeled a "sex-hungry judge" who had a special interest in underage girls.

The court noted that Huang had voluntarily confessed to the crimes during investigation and most of the money he took had been retrieved.

"But as a chief justice, Huang knowingly violated the law by trading power for money and taking a hefty sum of bribes, which has produced a bad impact on the society, and should be punished severely," said the court verdict.

Long Zongzhi, the headmaster of South-West University of Political Science and Law, who represented Huang in the 10-hour trial on January 14, said they are yet to determine whether to appeal.

The punishment showcased the authority's determination to clamp down on corruption in judicial systems.

The Supreme People's Court issued a notice yesterday, demanding an educational campaign among judges with Huang's case as a "negative example" to draw lessons from, Xinhua news agency reported.

Judges should conduct in-depth analysis on the cause of Huang's corrupt conduct and find out their own problems to guard against risks of turning corrupt, the notice said.

The campaign, with a special focus on senior judges, will be concluded before the Spring Festival, which falls in mid February this year, according to the Xinhua report.


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