A senior Chinese Communist Party official in Shaanxi Province has been charged with taking $101.3 million in bribes connected to the construction of an illegal resort village in the Qinling Mountains.
Chinese news agency Xinhua reported Tuesday that Zhao Zhengyong, former chief of the Shaanxi Provincial Committee of the Communist Party, was found to have embezzled more than $100 million during his trial at the First Intermediate People’s Court of Tianjin Municipality.
The bribe linked to Zhao dwarfs the graft case of Xing Yun, a former senior legislator of northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Xing was sentenced to death in 2019 for accepting money and valuables worth $63.9 million.
Zhao, a former senior national legislator, was a leading Communist Party official in Shaanxi Province from 2003 to 2018. Of the $101.3 million he accepted while in office, $41 million “was not received,” Chinese prosecutors said Monday.
Zhao reportedly pleaded guilty to taking bribes on Monday. He is being charged with forging ahead with construction projects in the Qinling Mountains, which was reportedly declared a nature reserve six times since May 2014 by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Zhao left office in January 2019 and is believed to have fallen out of favor with Xi for “disobeying orders,” according to Chinese state media.
Xi has kept a low profile following the coronavirus pandemic that began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
The growing movement among countries for China to apologize and pay reparations is drawing a nationalist response in the country, the South China Morning Post reported Tuesday.
Chinese analysts are warning of trends that exclude China from global cooperation.
“We have every reason to say that an international alliance is forming that excludes China and the Chinese yuan,” said Li Yang, director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ National Institution for Finance and Development, according to the Post.