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China's 'second wives' could be prosecuted; INTERNATIONAL.

China could put the mistresses of corrupt officials on trial in its fight against corruption under a proposed criminal law amendment, a state newspaper said.

Spouses, children and those with "intimate relations" with corrupt officials could be jailed for more than seven years if found to have taken advantage of an official's position to get bribes or make money illegally.

Communist Party leaders have repeatedly warned corruption threatens social and political stability, and have announced numerous crackdowns on crooked officials.

The draft of the proposed seventh amendment to the Criminal Law was submitted to the country's legislature, the National People's Congress, at the start of its five-day meeting.

Almost all the corrupt officials dealt with by China's highest prosecutor's office, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, had at least one extramarital affair, the newspaper said. Most of these "intimate persons" took advantage of their position to make money illegally, it said.

The amendment proposes tougher penalties for officials with large assets from unidentified sources, with jail terms of up to 10 years, rather than the current five.

Retired officials could also face punishment if they misuse influence, the paper said.

By Chinese law, government officials found to have mistresses, known as "second wives," are automatically dismissed from their posts.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 27, 2008
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