Huang Sheng, the former deputy governor of Shandong Province, was put on trial April 8 for accepting more than 12.23 million yuan (US$1.97 million) in bribes from at least 21 different companies and individuals, state media reported.
The prosecution took place at Nanjing Intermediate People’s Court in Jiangsu Province. According to unconfirmed rumors, Huang also embezzled millions or possibly billions of yuan, and provided homes for 46 mistresses. None of these allegations were mentioned in the trial, however, which was open to the public, with reporters and relatives present.
Many believe Huang actually embezzled 300 million yuan (about $48.5 million), earning him the nickname “Huang San Yi,” or “Huang 300 Million.”
Huang was expelled from the Communist Party last June, reportedly for serious legal and disciplinary violations, and also dismissed from his posts. State media People’s Daily reported at the time that Huang was said to be “morally corrupt,” and had caused huge economic losses.
The 59-year-old became a member of the Party in 1975, then mayor of Dezhou City in 1996, and deputy governor of Shandong in 2007, when he was put in charge of culture and tourism. Instead, he allegedly abused his power by selling government positions, tearing down housing to make way for other projects, and doing favors for other officials.
The prosecutor listed 12 people with enterprises in Dezhou who bribed Huang. Between 1998 and 2011, he received reductions in tax and land use fees, approval for government loans, business promotions from officials, and construction project approvals, partly via his wife, son, and younger brother.
According to Changsha Evening News, when Huang was mayor, he set bribe values worth 500,000 yuan (about $81,000) for a county secretary, nearly 200,000 yuan ($32,000) for a bureau chief, and the lowest-priced position was 50,000 yuan (about $8,100) for a deputy town chief.
Chinese netizens seemed underwhelmed by the news, according to comments posted on Sina microblog, perhaps because his case was covered by state media, rather than being exposed by a member of public.
Some were quick to point out Huang’s low rank in the Party, and that the amount of money involved is low compared with other corruption scandals.
“A county secretary worth 500,000 yuan, and a deputy town chief worth 50,000 yuan? Shandong’s living standard is not that high,” wrote one.
Another added: “The person who sold positions was ousted, but those who bought positions from him, such as Yang Jun, Sun Huabin, and Wang Qi, are still standing tall. This is solid proof of how corrupt officialdom is!”
A third said: “Huang is the model of corrupt officials; he has everything a corrupt official requires.”
The outcome of the trial will be announced at a later date.