The former Chinese Minister of Railways and Secretary of the Communist Party of China Liu Zhijun was accused of bribery and abuse of authority, and was brought to the Beijing Second Intermediate People’s Court for trial on the morning of June 9. Although he pled guilty to all charges, his sentencing is still pending.
From 1986 to 2011, Liu Zhijun allegedly practised favouritism and accepted huge amounts in bribe money and gifts. He received 374 plots of real estate and more than 800 million Chinese yuan ($US 117.6 million).
Trial made no mention of the illicit dealings between Liu Zhijun and Ding Yuxin
According to media reports, Liu Zhijun was primarily involved in protecting the huge illegal profiteering by businesswoman Ding Yuxin, who is a committee member of the Chinese Communist Party (CPP) in Shanxi.
From 1997 to 2010, Liu Zhijun helped Ding Yuxin secure railway contracts, causing a 3.4 billion yuan ($US 553.7 million) loss. So they gained up to 2 billion yuan ($US 294.1 million) in agency fees. This fee was used to bribe the Deputy Prime Minister and also as a gateway to the central power of the CCP Politburo.
Hong Kong’s Trend Magazine published an article signed by Yan Youke titled The Chinese Communist Party is facing a crisis of belief. It disclosed that it may cost a provincial or ministerial level official at least 10 million yuan ($US 1.6 million) to bribe a single Politburo Committee member for a promotion.
And the minimum amount to bribe retired veterans, such as Jiang Zemin, is 30 million yuan ($US 4.4 million). The case may also be related to the “selling of political positions” by Jiang Zemin. Yet the trial did not relate these to the allocation of the huge agency fees.
At the end of the trial, Liu Zhijun wept. He said that “as a farmer’s child”, he should have made more contributions to the Chinese railways and “Chinese dream”. And he regretted what he had done.
According to the case, Liu was accused of “seeking benefits for others, illegally accepting huge amounts of property, causing heavy losses to public property and harming the interests of the State and its people”.
Public opinion about Liu Zhijun’s first trial ruling
The Henan Radio and Television image web editor questioned several suspect points in Liu’s case in a blog: “Why did it take only one morning to finish such a complex and important trial? Why was the amount of bribe money reported significantly less than before?
Why did Liu lose control of his emotions and weep so sadly, when he used to be so wily and ruthless? Why did the prosecutors suddenly change their attitude and not only recognise Liu’s confession, but also turn so lenient? Who is the manipulator behind the scenes?”
Liu Zhijun received a death sentence with reprieve and in December 2015, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. The prison authorities said that he was expressing repentance and had committed no intentional offences during the reprieve period.