China says 99.9 per cent of graft defendants found guilty

China says 99.9 per cent of graft defendants found guilty

BEIJING - A total of 99.9 per cent of the verdicts reached against Chinese corruption defendants find them guilty, judicial authorities said Tuesday.

Nearly 200,000 people were investigated for embezzlement or bribery between January 2008 and August this year, China's top prosecutor, Cao Jianming, told the National People's Congress parliament.

Of those, 148,931 had been convicted, or 99.9 per cent of those who had been charged and had their trials completed, he said, according to a statement posted on the Supreme People's Procuratorate website.

The figures imply that the courts only acquitted 0.1 per cent of those who came before them, or 1 in 1,000.

A total of 37.7 billion yuan ($6.2 billion) in economic losses were retrieved, it added. Of those investigated, 32 were at or above ministerial level, it said.

Authorities apprehended nearly 7,000 fugitives who escaped abroad, said a separate statement on the website.

It is the first time since 1989 that the national prosecutor has reported its anti-graft work to the parliament, according to a report by the government-run Legal Daily on Tuesday.

China's president Xi Jinping has vowed to crack down on corruption at all levels of the government, calling graft a threat to the future of the ruling party.

But critics say the anti-corruption campaign by China's new leaders has so far netted a series of low-ranking officials and only a handful of senior figures, with no reforms introduced to increase transparency to help fight graft.

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