China vows to root out financial crime

Cao Jianming, Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, speaks during the third plenary session of the National People's Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 13, 2016. China found almost 100 percent of criminal defendants guilty last year, figures from the country's top court showed on March 13, even as authorities pledged to reduce wrongful convictions. / AFP / GREG BAKER

Beijing / Bloomberg

China’s judicial authorities vowed to do more to combat financial crimes in the coming year, as the economy slows and leaders remain concerned that financial risks might lead to higher unemployment and social unrest.
Chief prosecutor Cao Jianming said in his annual report to the country’s top legislature on Sunday that his department would prioritize investigations into finance, securities and insurance to “guarantee a healthy development of capital market.” The Supreme People’s Procuratorate plans to tackle financial crimes involvin illegal fundraising to protect the public and focus on contract fraud crimes to establish a “fair and orderly environment of market competition”, he said.
People’s Supreme Court President Zhou Qiang said in a separate report to the National People’s Congress in Beijing that the top court would strengthen oversight of financial crimes involving the Internet. Chinese courts last year handled 1.4 million cases involving peer-to-peer lending worth 821 billion yuan ($126 billion), Zhou said. More than 72,000 people were convicted for crimes involving illegal fundraising and P2P lending.
The government has launched investigations involving some of the nation’s largest financial firms following a stock market collapse last year that erased $5 trillion in value. Regulators in Beijing also have also targeted the booming online loan industry by investigating one of the largest P2P brokers, Ezubao. Judicial authorities also pledged to punish suspected threats to state security, including terrorism, secessionism and religious extremism, with Cao vowing to fight “infiltration, subversion and sabotage by hostile forces.”
Last year, Chinese courts convicted 1,419 people accused of harming state security, including those participating in terrorist and secessionist activities, Zhou said.

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