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China executes former top assets banker Lai Xiaomin

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Lai Xiaomin headed Huarong, one of China’s largest state-controlled asset management companies, until his dismissal in 2018.

Just weeks after being sentenced to death for taking “extremely large” bribes and bigamy, Chinese CCTV media said Lai Xiaomin was executed. It did not state how Lai was executed in the northern city of Tianjin after a final meeting with close relatives was reportedly permitted.

He was sentenced to death on 5 January by the Second Intermediate People’s Court of Tianjin for taking “extremely large” bribes and displaying “extreme malicious intent.”

He was accused of amassing or attempting to collect 1.79 billion yuan ($260 million, €215 million) over a decade for favors, including promotions, as former chairman of Huarong, a state-controlled asset management firm founded in the 1990s.

Cabinets that are stuffed with cash

CCTV revealed footage of Beijing apartment safes and cabinets filled with cash at a sentencing hearing in early January, and Lai made a supposed confession, saying, ‘I didn’t dare waste it.’

Stripped of his post in 2018, for living with a woman outside his union, he was also found guilty of bigamy.

Just one other high-ranking official has been executed recently, Zhao Liping, for murder in 2016, under an anti-corruption campaign initiated by President Xi Jinping.

Subsequently, reprieves were granted to three other senior Communist Party members awaiting death sentences.

China ‘The Top Executioner of the World’

“Amnesty International, however, ranks China “among the top executioners in the world,” saying death sentences, often enacted in secrecy, run into the “thousands” each year, “more than all other nations put together in the world.

Most death penalty information is listed as “state secrets” amid China’s claims of progress towards judicial accountability, Amnesty added.

Under the crackdown launched in 2012 under Xi, hundreds of government officials, including a former head of the Chinese insurance regulator, have been snatched.

Chinese courts have a conviction rate of more than 99%.

Jail for the lender ‘Belt and Road’

On January 8, the Intermediate People’s Court of Chengde, a city north of Beijing, sentenced Hu Huaibang, the former president of the China Development Bank, to life imprisonment (CDB).

The CDB, one of the wealthiest leaders in the world, is the primary source of funding for the multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Beijing to expand infrastructure, including railways and ports, to the Middle East, Africa, and Europe throughout Asia.

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Written by Jasspreet Kaur

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