Life sentences urged for gambling cadres
Amid a growing public clamor over state officials who use public money for
gambling, 31 lawmakers attending the ongoing annual session of China's
legislature have called for stiffer penalties against those caught violating the
In a joint motion, the deputies to the National People's Congress said
they want prison terms for public officials caught gambling public money to rise
from the current three years to a life sentence, said Niu Xiaoming, one of
Following a growing wave of high-level officials caught
at the gaming tables, the Chinese government launched a nationwide crackdown in
January. Special efforts were devoted to civil servants who squandered public
money in casinos located in neighboring countries.
In one of the cases, Cai
Haowen, an official from the Yanbian autonomous prefecture in northeastern
China's Jilin Province, was caught embezzling 2.76 million yuan (US$332,530)
from his department and borrowing 750,000 yuan from companies under his
supervision from January to November last year.
Cai made 27 trips to a
neighboring nation and squandered all the money in a casino before fleeing late
last year, authorities said. He was captured last month.
Li daoming, an NPC
deputy and president of the Henan Province Higher People's Court, said he has a
deep hatred for leading officials who uses bribes or embezzled public funds for
"By doing so, they will not only ruin their family and
social morals, but undermine the authority of the government and tarnish the
image of the country," he said.
In a work report submitted by the Supreme
People's Court to the NPC session, Chief Justice Xiao Yang said his court will
give priority to dealing with gambling cases this year. The Central Commission
for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China also stated in
mid-January that all Party leaders who involve themselves in gambling will be
dismissed, and those who go to gamble in casinos outside China will be punished
According to the latest report from the office in charge of the
nationwide crackdown on gambling, 92 of some 160 gambling houses have been
Lu binghua, director of the public security department of the Guangxi
Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China, which neighbors Vietnam, said local
authorities have stopped granting visas to Chinese tourists going anywhere
beyond the border where casinos are operating. Telecommunications service, water
and electricity to the gambling houses have also been cut off.
head of the Guangxi branch of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, said
local banks have beefed up their management of large cash transactions and have
banned citizens in the autonomous region from using their bank cards and
accounts to access Internet gambling sites outside China.
The crackdown on
gambling is by no means "a flash in the pan," Lu said.
Authorities say they
are considering a long-term mechanism to keep Chinese citizens from going abroad
to gamble, including conferring with governments in the countries where the
gambling dens are located.