Ex-China Mobile exec sentenced to death

25 Jul 2011

Former China Mobile executive Zhang Chunjiang has been handed a death sentence after being found guilty of taking bribes.

Zhang, the operator's former deputy general manager and Party committee secretary, was ruled to have taken 7.46 million yuan ($1.6 million) in bribes during his tenure at the operator.

The sentence has been suspended for two years, and could be reduced to life imprisonment with good behavior. His personal assets and political rights have also been seized.

Zhang is alleged to have taken bribes over a period between 1994 and 2009, when he was fired as party chief and placed under investigation for a “suspected serious breach of discipline.”

The accusations also cover his tenure as CEO of China Netcom, the former operator which was merged into China Unicom during the 2008 industry restructure.

The verdict comes one month after another former China Mobile executive, Shi Wanzhong, was sentenced to death for allegedly taking bribes from go-betweens of Siemens.

With the harsh punishments, China seems to be sending a message that it is taking corruption allegations in the telecom sector very seriously.

The government last month kicked off a corruption probe into China's big three telecom operators, reportedly targeting officials and senior employees. A senior China Unicom official was last year also detained during an investigation into his conduct.

China Mobile this month also appointed long-serving bureaucrat Xi Guohua as its new party chief, in a move some see as a government response to the bribery scandal.

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