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Ex-Chinese official executed for corruption

By the CNN Wire Staff
A petitioner outside the Chongqing, China, court in April shows photos of crimes allegedly committed by Wen Qiang.
A petitioner outside the Chongqing, China, court in April shows photos of crimes allegedly committed by Wen Qiang.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Wen was convicted of shielding five major organized crime gangs in Chongqing
  • Xinhua: He failed to account for sources of more than 10M yuan in personal assets
  • A court determined he took bribes and raped a student
  • Wen is brother-in-law of so-called "godmother" of Chongqing's underworld
RELATED TOPICS
  • China

Beijing, China (CNN) -- The highest-ranking official accused of collusion with gangs that terrorized the central city of Chongqing has been executed, China's official Xinhua news agency reported.

Wen Qiang, 55, former director of the Chongqing Justice Bureau, had been convicted of corruption charges involving organized crime, Xinhua said. He was sentenced to death by a lower court April 14 for accepting bribes, shielding criminal gangs, rape and failing to account for his cash and assets, the news agency said.

Wen lost an appeal May 21. He was executed in Chongqing on Wednesday.

The Chongqing No. 5 Intermediate People's Court ruled that Wen took bribes totaling more than 12 million yuan (more than $1.7 million U.S.) personally or through his wife from 1996 to 2009. In return, Wen offered posts for officials and helped companies and businesses obtain illegal profits, Xinhua said.

Wen also was convicted of shielding five major organized crime gangs in Chongqing after accepting bribes worth 756,500 yuan (more than $110,000 U.S.).

In addition, the court ruled that Wen raped a university student after getting her drunk in August 2007, Xinhua said.

Wen failed to account for the sources of more than 10 million yuan (nearly $1.48 million U.S.) in personal assets, Xinhua reported, and all of his personal property was seized.

Last year's crackdown on organized crime in Chongqing led to the prosecution of 90 local officials; 42 were found guilty of sheltering criminal gangs.

Wen is the brother-in-law of the so-called "godmother" of Chongqing's underworld. Xie Caiping was sentenced to 18 months in prison last year. She was accused of operating gambling dens, trafficking in drugs, giving and collecting bribes, and antagonizing citizens, including policemen who tried to investigate her illicit activities.

The corruption trials, covered extensively by Chinese media, have transfixed the nation and rallied Chongqing residents, who claim they are fed up with being bullied by their own local officials.

"Only capital punishment will serve him right. He deserves to be killed a thousand times," one person commented online about Wen in February.

"The Wen Qiang case is only the tip of the iceberg," another wrote. "If China wants more rapid development, there should be a purge to wipe out all the corrupted officials in Communist Party."

Analysts said a harsh crackdown on corruption was vital to maintaining public faith in the Communist leadership.

"These trials are noteworthy in that the Party leadership wants people to understand that officials who collaborate with organized crime will be dealt with harshly," Russell Leigh Moses, a Beijing-based scholar of Chinese politics, said at the beginning of Wen's trial.

CNN's Emily Chang contributed to this article.

 
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