Chinese official bags death sentence over  $25m bribe

President of China Xi Jingpin
President of China Xi Jingpin

Chinese official bags death sentence over  $25m bribe

A former Chinese Communist Party chief in Hangzhou, a prominent e-commerce hub, has bagged a suspended death sentence after being found guilty of accepting a $25 million bribe.

President Xi Jinping‘s administration has prioritized combating corruption, affecting over 1.5 million officials.

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Zhou Jiangyong, the former Communist Party secretary of Hangzhou, home to the internet giant Alibaba, has been sentenced to a death penalty with a two-year suspension, as reported by state broadcaster CCTV.

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The court found Zhou guilty of accepting bribes totaling more than 182 million yuan ($25 million).

In China, suspended death sentences are typically commuted to life imprisonment if no further crimes are committed during the reprieve period.

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Zhou came under investigation in 2021, and there were reports that Ant Group, Alibaba’s finance affiliate, received a discount on a property purchase after investing in mobile payment companies owned by Zhou’s brother.

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The court established that Zhou exploited his various positions in Zhejiang province, where Hangzhou is located, to solicit bribes in exchange for favors related to construction and land acquisition.

President Xi Jinping has made the fight against corruption a major focus of his leadership.

Over 1.5 million officials have been impacted by this anti-corruption campaign, according to government data.

The efforts to root out corruption in state and party organs have been hailed as necessary, but critics argue that the campaign also serves as a means for Xi to eliminate political rivals.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma has maintained a low profile since late 2020, following a speech in which he criticized Chinese regulators.

Subsequently, Beijing halted the planned IPO of Ant Group, and Alibaba faced a record fine of $2.75 billion for alleged unfair business practices. Ma’s reduced influence within Ant Group and Alibaba was announced in January, potentially helping the companies navigate regulatory challenges.

The crackdown on corruption in China has far-reaching implications for the business landscape.

As authorities target bribery and other illicit practices, it sends a strong message to both domestic and international companies operating in the country.

Firms are now more cautious about engaging in corrupt practices to secure business advantages, fearing severe consequences.

For companies like Alibaba and Ant Group, the regulatory scrutiny and fines have led to increased compliance efforts and adjustments to their corporate structures.

Jack Ma’s diminished involvement in Ant Group may have been a strategic move to ease tensions with regulators and demonstrate a commitment to address concerns raised during the anti-corruption campaign.

China’s commitment to combat corruption, with President Xi Jinping leading efforts to cleanse state and party organs.

The suspended death sentence sends a strong warning to corrupt officials, while businesses, like Alibaba and Ant Group, must navigate the regulatory landscape carefully to maintain their operations in the country.


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