China executes two former vice-mayors for bribery

BEIJING, July 19 Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:08am EDT

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BEIJING, July 19 (Reuters) - China executed two former vice-mayors from two booming eastern cities for taking millions of dollars in bribes, the Supreme Court and state media said on Tuesday, as the government strives to show it is being tough on graft.

Xu Maiyong, the former vice-mayor of Hangzhou, and Jiang Renjie, the former vice-mayor of Suzhou, were executed in the morning, the court said in a brief statement on its website (www.court.gov.cn).

Xu was convicted of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power, while Jiang was convicted of bribery, the official Xinhua news agency added.

Chinese media has previously reported that the two took bribes worth more than 100 million yuan ($15.4 million) in connection with real estate projects.

China's ruling Communist Party has repeatedly vowed to stamp out official corruption, a key source of public discontent as the rapidly growing economy gives senior officials opportunities to use their power for private gain.

China sacked Shanghai's powerful Communist Party boss in 2007 and the Railways Minister earlier this year.

Critics say the fight against graft is hampered by the lack of an independent judiciary, rather than one which answers firstly to the Party, and by officials not being held accountable to an electorate or by an independent media, which is also tightly controlled. ($1 = 6.469 yuan) (Reporting by Sally Huang and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Ken Wills and Daniel Magnowski)

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