China will go after the lovers and family members of corrupt officials by amending an existing law to make it easier to prosecute them, a state newspaper said on Tuesday, as the government tries to tackle a surge in graft.
"Spouses and children of and/or people who have 'intimate relations' with corrupt officials could be jailed for more than seven years if they are found guilty of taking advantage of such officials' positions to get bribes or make money illegally," the China Daily said.
It cited a legal official, Huang Taiyun, as saying "people who have intimate relations" mainly meant "secret lovers of corrupt officials".
"Taking bribes has become a practice among some relatives and/or lovers of corrupt officials," the report said. "Many of the corrupt officials tend to have extra-marital affairs."
Chinese media often report lurid stories of officials' extra-marital affairs. Last year, a former senior official in north China was given a death sentence for killing his mistress with a car bomb after tiring of her constant demands for money.
Current laws make it hard to punish corrupt officials' lovers, it quoted an academic as saying.
"Retired officials, too, could face similar punishment if they use their influence in the government to make money illegally," the newspaper said.
The amendment also "proposes tougher penalties for officials with big assets from unidentified sources. Officials who cannot give the source of their assets could be jailed for up to 10 years, instead of the current five years".
Widespread graft in China is a major cause of public resentment and social unrest that the Communist Party is at pains to curb.
It has been blamed for a variety of the country's ills, such as poor enforcement of food and product standards and workplace safety regulations.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Ağustos 2008, 16:41