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'White House' official loses appeal against jail

A FORMER Henan provincial Party official notorious for building a replica White House as his office building lost his appeal against life imprisonment for taking bribes, embezzlement and misusing public funds.

The decision against Feng Liucheng was handed down by the Henan Higher People's Court, which upheld a 2006 ruling by the Nanyang Intermediate People's Court that found Feng guilty of taking bribes worth more than 5.4 million yuan (US$789,500), embezzling 620,000 yuan and misusing about 2.7 million yuan.

Feng, 50, became Party secretary of a district in Zhengzhou, capital of central Henan Province, in 1999 and built six luxury office buildings during his time in power, including the White House replica.

He solicited or accepted bribes from builders on the White House project, prosecutors said.

The Nanyang court found Feng arranged for the construction of the buildings without a public tender.

The "White House" in the north suburb of Zhengzhou was the government building of Huiji District and came into use in May 2004.

Among the 35.33 hectares of land, 10 hectares were for office buildings while the remainder included trees, a lake and a waterfall.

The central government issued detailed construction standards to define the size of government workplaces in January.

Offices for ministry-level officials should be less than 54 square meters, those for county-level officials less than 20 square meters.


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