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October 31, 2009

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Suspect officials meet lie detector

PROSECUTORS in a southern China city have started using a lie detector when interrogating officials in corruption investigations.

The procuratorate in Dongguan City in Guangdong Proivince showed off the polygraph to the public on its open day yesterday, Nanfang Daily reported yesterday.

The instrument measures and records physiological responses of a subject under questioning, such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, breathing rhythms, body temperature and skin conductivity.

It works on the theory that false answers will produce distinctive measurements.

Prosecutors said it will be mainly used when questioning officials who are more capable of cheating in the investigation, the report said.

Prosecutors who have tested the instrument said it is effective in lie detection.

Despite that, the polygraph will just be used as a tool in interrogation. The results won't be provided as legal evidence, prosecutors said.

Controversial tool

The use and effectiveness of the polygraph is controversial, its validity subject to ongoing criticism, according to experts.

Many senior officials in Guangdong have been probed over corruption charges, particularly in a snowballing inquiry involving China's former home appliance king, Huang Guangyu.

Wang Huayuan, former head of the provincial disciplinary committee, was sacked in August as top Party disciplinary supervisor for eastern China's Zhejiang Province and expelled from the Communist Party of China for alleged corruption.

Former Guangdong top political adviser Chen Shaoji and former assistant public security minister Zheng Shaodong are also under investigation.

In June, Xu Zongheng, mayor of Shenzhen in Guangdong, was put under double designation status - meaning he had to explain allegations of disciplinary violations or corruption at a designated time and place.

Last week, Yu Weiliang, Party boss of Longgang District in Shenzhen City, and Chen Shengxing, the chairman of the Political Consultative Conference in the same district, were both sacked for "serious breach of Party discipline."


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