Beijing, China | AFP | The number of prosecutions related to corruption in China nearly doubled last year, according to a report by Beijing’s top prosecutor, as President Xi Jinping ramped up his crackdown on graft.
According to the annual report from the Supreme People’s Procuratorate submitted to the national parliament, 18,585 people were prosecuted for crimes related to corruption in 2019, a 90 percent year-on-year increase.
Sixteen cases involved former provincial or ministerial-level Communist Party cadres, including former Yunnan party chief Qin Guangrong, who was accused of taking bribes.
China’s prosecutions overwhelmingly end in convictions. Last year, from nearly 1.3 million criminal cases, only 1,388 people were acquitted.
The latest high-profile targets of the anti-corruption campaign include former shipbuilding executive Hu Wenming and ex-deputy national security minister Sun Lijun, who were both placed under investigation for “serious violations of discipline and the law” in May and April respectively.
Last year also saw a 50 percent rise in the number of cases involving Communist Party members transferred to prosecutors for investigation, according to the report, which was discussed Monday afternoon.
China is holding its delayed annual National People’s Congress this year, but with much stricter controls on access and many sessions closed to the media due to the coronavirus outbreak.
A total of 25,000 trials involving corruption, malfeasance and bribery were concluded last year, which led to 29,000 people being convicted, according to the Supreme People’s Court work report released Monday.
More than a million officials have been punished under the anti-corruption campaign so far, which has been a cornerstone of Xi’s seven-year tenure.
Critics have accused the campaign of targeting Xi’s political enemies.
The Supreme People’s Court also reported that there were 22 trials under the controversial martyrs’ law, which criminalises all insults to Communist heroes.
Several internet users and even an online comic platform have been punished since the law was introduced in 2018.
There was also a notable increase in the number of prosecutions last year for cyber crime and intellectual property infringement, at 33 and 32 percent respectively.
The report also said that more than 2,500 people were prosecuted for coronavirus-related criminal offences between February and April this year.