The most senior Chinese official put to death for corruption is Cheng Kejie, the former vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. In 2000, the married Cheng was prosecuted for accumulating $4.7 million in bribes with the help of his mistress Li Ping, who was married to a senior local official. The bribes came from doling out land development contracts between 1992 and 1998. These are highly sought after because there is no open bidding process. The pair deposited their ill-gotten gains in a Hong Kong bank, but the affair was exposed by Cheng’s jilted wife. While Cheng was sentenced to death, Li was handed a life sentence. Video footage showed the couple blowing public money on frequent trips to casinos in Macau, the former Portuguese colony and now a Special Administrative Region of China.
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