White-Collar Criminals in China

White-Collar Criminals in China

Chinese People Who Were Handed The Death Sentence For White Collar Crime

China just executed real estate developer Zeng Chengjie.

About 4,000 people are executed annually in the country, according to human rights organization Dui Hua. And a number of those executed are white collar criminals.

Those who have been executed or who are sitting on death row include small business owners, political figures, and CEOs of large companies.  They have been handed death sentences after being found guilty of fraud, corruption, or illegal fund raising.

Many protest the death sentence for such crimes because the definition of illegal fund raising, for example, is very close to private lending, a practice that is crucial for small and medium enterprises. And this has become increasingly controversial because of the role local party officials play in cases of illegal fund raising and fraud, according to Tea Leaf Nation.

China's legal system is widely criticized because those with political clout are said to get off with lighter sentences.What follows are some of the most notorious cases in which white collar criminals were given a death sentence and in some cases, executed. Some were given a two-year reprieve i.e. if they committed no more crimes for two years and were on their best behavior their sentence would be amended to life in prison.

Note: Figures on the death penalty are a state secret. The number of executions have declined since 2007 because of a reform that required death penalties to be reviewed by the Supreme People's Court (SPC). Lucas Kawa contributed to an earlier version of this report.

Zeng Chengjie, executed

Crime: Illegal fund raising and fraud

Job title: Real estate developer in Hunan

In 2011, Zeng Chengjie was convicted of illegal fund raising 3.45 billion yuan, and defrauding 57,000 investors. Zeng's daughter said that local Chinese officials withdrew investments last minute causing panic among local investors.

Luo Yaping, executed


Crime: Corruption

Job title: Official in urban planning and land use department

Luo Yaping called the "Land Ma'am" was accused of embezzling 32.39 million yuan ($5.14 million) of public funds while she was working in Fushin city in the urban planning and land use department.
Luo was executed in November 2011.

Chen Meng, death with a two-year reprieve

Chen Meng

Crime: Offering kickbacks to project managers for bribes

Job title: Deputy Head of Songjuang District government

Chen was found guilty of taking bribes worth over 15 million yuan. The Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court sentenced him to death with a two-year reprieve.

Song Wendai, death sentence

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song wendai

Crime: Grafting and embezzling public properties and funds

Job title: Former CEO of Qiankun Gold and Silver Refinery Co Ltd

Song Wendai was sentenced to death for illegally obtaining shares of the company and embezzling 87 million yuan ($13.87 million) in public funds and assets including gold and silver.

Lin Haiyan, death sentence

Lin Haiyan,

Crime: Illegal fund raising and fraud

Job title: Owner of investment company

Lin Haiyan raised 640 million yuan (approx $100 million) from investors, mostly friends, co-workers, and family. But she failed to recover about $70 million. The Wenzhou court found that Lin told investors she was directing dunes into IPOs and bank deposits but was using them to speculate on futures and stocks. 

Zhang Yujun and Geng Jinping, executed

Zhang Yujun and Geng Jinping

Crime: Selling over three million pounds combined in contaminated milk from 2007-2008

Job title: Dairy producers

On January 22, 2009, Chinese courts sentenced these two men to death for sales of tainted milk which killed at least six children and caused ailments for over 300,000. Melamine, an industrial content, was added to the milk to give the illusion of higher protein content. The two businessmen were executed on November 22 of the same year.

Wu Ying, death with a two-year reprieve


Crime: Fraud and raising money outside the banking system

Job title: N/A

Wu Ying aka 'Rich Sister' was sentenced to death in December 2009 by the the Jinhua Intermediate People’s Court in Zhejiang for defrauding investors of about $60.2 million.
But netizens rallied in support for Wu saying her punishment was too harsh and that defendants with political connections got away with lenient sentence. The Supreme People's Court (SPC) overturned the death sentence in April this year giving her a two-year reprieve.

Du Yimin, executed

Du Yimin, executed

Crime: Fraud and illegal fund raising

Job title: Beauty parlor owner

Du Yimin was convicted of illegally raising 700 million yuan ($103 million). She is said to have promised investors high returns but instead used them to buy apartments, cars and other luxury goods for herself.
She was sentenced to death by an intermediate court in March 2008, and was executed in August 2009.

Si Chaxian, executed

Si Chaxian, executed

Crime: Fraud and illegal fund raising

Job title: N/A

Si Chaxian was found guilty of raising $24 million from 300 people and promising high returns. Si was executed in August 2009 on the same day as Du Yimin.
The SPC said that both had "seriously damaged the country's financial regulatory order and social stability."

Zheng Xiaoyu, executed

Zheng Xiaoyu, executed

Crime: Accepting bribes in exchange for granting approval for hundreds of medicines

Job title: Head of Food and Drug Administration

Chinese authorities claim Zheng received $850,000 in bribes for which he approved 137 drugs, including an antibiotic believed to have killed ten people. He was sentenced to death on May 29, 2007.
Zheng’s deputy, Cao Wenzhuang, received a death sentence for his role in the crime, which was reduced to a two-year reprieve. Zheng was executed on July 10, 2007.

Tang Chengqi and Zhang Xiaohua, death with a two-year reprieve

Tang Chengqi and Zhang Xiaohua, death with a two-year reprieve
Money Laundering

Crime: Accepting bribes in exchange for government contracts

Job titles: Party Secretary of Nanchang County and Hufang Town, respectively

These two men received over 60 million yuan from real estate developers looking to score government contracts. The Jiangxi Provincial Higher People's Court sentenced each man to death with a two-year reprieve.

Song Chenguang, death with a two-year reprieve

Song Chenguang, death with a two-year reprieve
Money Laundering

Crime: Trading bribes for business favors

Job title: Vice Chairman of the Jiangxi Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference

Song offered favors to 18 companies or individuals in exchange for over 12 million yuan. The Intermediate People’s Court sentenced him to death with a two-year reprieve on April 27, 2012.

Ying Guoquan, death with a two-year reprieve

Ying Guoquan, death with a two-year reprieve
Tang Chengqi and Zhang Xiaohua, death with a two-year reprieve

Crime: Graft, embezzlement, accepting bribes, and illegal distribution of State assets

Job title: Chairman of the Wenzhou Cailanzi Group

Ying defrauded the government of 12 million yuan, which he gave to senior executives. He was also found guilty in a massive grant case of over 370 million yuan. The Wenzhou Intermediate People's Court sentenced Ying to death with a two-year reprieve on May 22, 2012.
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