Ex-official pleads guilty, won't appeal

Updated: 2016-06-28 07:37

(China Daily)

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Former deputy environment minister Zhang Lijun pleaded guilty to graft charges on Monday in Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court and said he would not appeal, no matter what sentence he received.

The court confirmed that prosecutors had accused Zhang of taking 2.4 million yuan ($361,500) in bribes and of aiding project approvals and appointments. The investigation began in July.

Zhang was allowed to address the court, and his defense team was allowed to participate in cross-examination.

The defense asked for leniency, saying Zhang had cooperated with the corruption probe and had returned all ill-gotten assets, the court confirmed. A verdict will be announced at a later date.

Zhang served in his last position between 2008 and 2013.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party's anti-graft watchdog, said last year that Zhang had abused his power.

Environmental protection is a widely watched and sometimes sensitive subject in China, with sporadic protests sparked every year by concerns about pollution, particularly at factories.

The Environment Ministry was reprimanded by the watchdog last year for problems including interference by ministry officials and their relatives in environmental impact assessments.

(China Daily 06/28/2016 page5)