China Sentences Ex-Chairman of Shipbuilder CSIC to Jail in $8M Bribery Case

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A court in Shanghai sentenced the former chairman of China Shipbuilding Industry Company (CSIC), Hu Wenming, to 13 years in jail after a three-and-a-half-year investigation on charges of accepting bribes and abuse of power. Hu had been one of the leaders in the shipbuilding industry including heading China’s aircraft carrier development program and engineering the merger to create China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC).

Hu was found guilty of taking advantage of his positions of leadership for personal gain and causing “huge losses to national interests.” According to the court papers, he helped organizations and individuals in project contracting, business cooperation, asset acquisition, personnel promotions, and deposit collections. The court ruled he accepted cash and property valued at $8.4 million.

Hu, age 66, had started his career in 1975 and been a member of the Community Party since 1978. He retired in 2019 when the merger of CSSC and CSIC was completed. He was expelled from the Party in January 2021 about seven months after the corruption charges were first announced. 

During his career, he was a deputy general manager of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China and later became deputy general manager of CSIC. It was there that he would become head of the carrier program and rise to the role of chairman of CSIC. Hu was accused of using his position between 2001 and 2015 for his personal gain. They alleged he abused his position as chairman of CSIC and party secretary from 2013 to 2015 while helping to drive the effort to merge the two shipbuilding companies to create the largest shipbuilder in the world. 

They alleged while in the role of chairman and secretary, he accepted bribes and deliberately violated the management duties of a state-owned company. He was reported to have acquired the assets of private shipyards which he profited from by making them subsidiary companies of CSSC during the merger.

He was ordered to serve 13 years in jail for his crimes and was also fined $700,000. The court ordering the monies he stole to be returned to the state treasury.

This is the third high-profile case of corruption prosecuted by the state against the executives of CSIC. In 2017 and 2018, they charged the yard’s “head of discipline,” and its general manager also with abuse of power, accepting bribes, and corruption. The yard’s former general manager, Sun Bo, was sentenced to 12 years in jail when he was found guilty of corruption. 

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