China puts right corrupt China Mobile exec with murder threat

China has decided to make an example of a vice chairman found guilty of taking bribes, an analyst has said.

Former vice chairman and executive director of China Mobile, Mr. Zhang Chunjiang, was sentenced to death after a North China High Court found him  guilty of taking around $1.5 million in bribes for the period of 1994 to 2009. That was while he was deputy director of the Liaoning provincial postal administration, GM of China Netcom Group, as well as the deputy general manager of China Mobile.

Although the sentence has been suspended for two years – and, mercifully, could be cut to just life imprisonment if Mr Zhang behaves – other execs found guilty of corruption might not be so lucky.

According to an industry watcher under condition of anonymity, this is because the Chinese government has decided that there should be a public clampdown on corruption in both its government and state business. It had decided to make an example of Zhang, which should serve as a warning to others, while the public facing image is that corruption is dealt with seriously in the country.

“Of course, this isn’t the first time corruption has been found in a Chinese company. However, like in South Korea, the government has tried to cover up and the law make excuses,” our man tells TechEye.

“Simarlarily to South Korea, China has now decided that – what I’ll call ‘silent corruption’ – won’t do.

“So, like with Samsung over in South Korea, it has decided to show businesses where it stands and show that as a nation it won’t stand for corrupt practices.

“It’s trying to show that it will no longer take a softly, softly approach against those who practice these corrupt methods and those who are found to be guilty face more than prison. 

“After all, it’s clear that China desperately needs the trust of other countries to do business, especially with competition from other nations. “

According to the Wall Street Journal, Chinese President Hu Jintao made a speech earlier this month warning that the country faces a dire struggle against corruption. He was quoted as saying:  “If corruption cannot be effectively stamped out, the Party will lose the trust and support of the people”.

When Mr Zhang, who joined China Mobile in 2008, stood court earlier this month, he was also also accused of helping bribers receive business contracts as well as recovering debts.

However, there were no more further details of his wrong doings. Mr Zhang pleaded guilty and paid back all the money.

There is opportunity to set further examples, as the courts have confiscated the passports of several separate mid-level managers .