• The Communist Party of China wants to purge corrupt officials.

The Communist Party of China wants to purge corrupt officials. (Photo : Getty Images)

In a historic decision by the Anyang City Intermediate People's Court, a former Communist Party senior official will be facing the death penalty.

Bai Enpei was the first high-ranking member of the National People's Congress to be sentenced and charged for grave acts of corruption. He was also given a two-year reprieve.

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Bai was found guilty of abusing his power by accepting bribes from real estate developers and for releasing mining rights and job promotions. The total amount of bribes was $37 million in cash or property that he received personally or through his wife, according to court officials.

His assets had no clear source.

The sentence was rendered through the revised Criminal Law which states that grave crimes will not be eligible for parole or lower sentence. Grave crimes will either be sentenced to the death penalty or the life sentence.

Hong Daode, a law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, said, "Such a revision has provided a legal basis for handling serious corruption offenders and will avoid attempts by influential and wealthy people to receive shorter sentences. Bai's trial will serve as an example for handling later corruption cases to ensure justice and a proper sentence."

Another Communist Party official, Zhou Benshun, was also charged with graft by the Xiamen People's Procuratorate, which will try the case in Xiamen Intermediate People's Court, according to the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

He was accused of collecting bribes when he was the Hunan Province Security Chief. secretary-general of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee and Party chief in Hebei.

Wang Qishan, a member of the Communist Party's ruling Politburo Standing Committee, said that the Party's tasks remain unchanged despite the 282,000 officials punished for corruption.