Jail upheld for journalist who took bribe

Daily Corruption News: Democracy, corruption cannot go side by side: Nawaz Sharif; in Ghana, Massive fraud uncovered in NHIS – A COURT in north China’s Hebei Province has upheld a 16-year jail term for a journalist after convicting him of taking 200,000 yuan (US$29,300) in bribes from a county government to help it conceal a mine accident which killed 35 people.

Li Junqi, director of the Beijing office for Farmers Daily newspaper, was also convicted of embezzlement, according to the second verdict by Zhangjiakou City Intermediate People’s Court, today’s reported.

Your Daily Corruption News team — Tuesday 5 January 2010


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— News from the TI movement 

Li was first sentenced in September last year. He appealed to the intermediate court insisting his innocence.

A blast occurred at Lijiawa Mine in Nanliuzhuang Town of Zhangjiakou’s Weixian County on July 14, 2008, killing 35 miners. To discourage media reports, the mine owners and county government offered money to journalists to keep the accident quiet, the court found.

Hearing that Li had visited the mine trying to report on the accident, the county’s vice publicity minister Gao Zhanjun went to Beijing and asked Li not to report it any more. Li agreed but asked Gao to subscribe to 3,000 copies of his newspaper in return.

The county government sent 200,000 yuan to Li’s newspaper’s account as a promotional fee, the court said.

But the court said the account was an ordinary newspaper bank account rather than its financial account, ruling that Li personally accepted the bribe.

Li’s lawyer Zhou Ze strongly challenged the verdict, stressing that the money was transferred to the newspaper’s account which Li had never had a chance to touch.

The mine owners paid 2.6 million yuan to 10 journalists, according to earlier media reports