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China Pledges Severe Penalties on Quake-related Corruption

China's Chief Justice Wang Shengjun on Monday asked local courts in the quake-hit zone to impose a firm hand on crimes including corruption.

The court would impose severe punishment in line with laws on any corruption and malpractice related to the Sichuan Province quake relief and rehabilitation including misuse of relief funds and power, said Wang, president of the Supreme People's Court of China.

Local courts should also be fully aware of the importance to help maintain stability in quake-hit regions.

Top on the courts' agenda will be offenders who spread rumors, steal and damage public utility facilities, such as electricity, transport and telecom, counterfeit commodities and produce substandard foods and medicines as well as those who distribute such goods. Also targeted are those who manipulate the market, steal and rob properties, cheat in name of donating to quake victims and damage relief facilities.

Wang also urged local courts to improve efficiency and promised to help them rebuild facilities damaged in the May 12 quake.

(Xinhua News Agency May 27, 2008)

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