Corrupt official plagiarizes trial apology

BEIJING Wed Sep 5, 2007 9:53am EDT

A judge listens to arguments in a Beijing courtroom in a file photo. Music, books and Hollywood films... China can now add testimonies of regret by corrupt officials to its exhaustive list of copyright violations. REUTERS/Guang Niu

A judge listens to arguments in a Beijing courtroom in a file photo. Music, books and Hollywood films... China can now add testimonies of regret by corrupt officials to its exhaustive list of copyright violations.

Credit: Reuters/Guang Niu

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Music, books and Hollywood films... China can now add testimonies of regret by corrupt officials to its exhaustive list of copyright violations.

Zhang Shaocang, former Communist Party chief of state-owned power company Anhui Province Energy Group Co Ltd, wept as he read a four-page "letter of apology" during his corruption trial at a court in Fuyang, Anhui, according to a Procuratorial Daily report reproduced in Wednesday's Beijing News.

But Zhang's sentiments were later found to be strikingly similar to those of Zhu Fuzhong, a disgraced former party chief of Tongan village in southwestern Sichuan province, whose apology letter was printed in the Procuratorial Daily less than two weeks before.

"Before working, I never gave much thought to money and regarded achievement as the starting point and end result of my work," the paper quoted both of the letters as saying.

"I gradually lost my bearings and the scope of my position," Zhang said at his trial, an exact copy of Fu's own wording.

Apart from using whole sentences word for word, Zhang also -- more craftily -- made "slight changes" in other areas.

The Procuratorial Daily, the official paper of China's top prosecutions office, is distributed as reading material at many "supervision venues," the paper said, referring to the often secret locations where Communist Party officials are held for questioning.

It was possible that Zhang, while being investigated for charges of bribe-taking, had drawn inspiration from Zhu's apology in the hope of gaining leniency from the court, the paper said.

"Because of this, Zhang's apology was dismissed as 'show-boating,'" the paper said.

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