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Head of China’s Aircraft Carrier Programs Sentenced to 13 years for Massive Bribery

Hu Wenming has been sentenced to 13 years in prison and fined 5 million RMB (US$ 700,500) for accepting bribes and abusing his power. Hu was the chairman of the board of directors of China State Shipbuilding Corporation Limited (CSSC) as well as the secretary of the company’s Chinese Communist Party committee.

From 2001-2020, Hu took advantage of his positions to unlawfully accept nearly 60 million RMB (US$ 8.4 million) in bribes related to projects, business deals, promotions, etc. He also caused major losses to state-owned assets during a corporate restructuring from 2013-2015.

In May 2020, Hu was put under disciplinary review for suspected violations. Investigators raised concerns about Hu potentially leaking state secrets, but this was not mentioned during trial. The Shanghai court found that Hu’s actions constituted “accepting bribes” and “abuse of power by a state-owned company officer.” His bribes were extremely large and his favoritism caused particularly significant asset losses, meriting punishment. Mitigating factors included: attempted bribes, recovering some losses, confessing crimes, actively returning stolen goods, and having other statutory/discretionary lenient circumstances.

After participating in earlier aircraft carrier construction in Liaoning Province, Hu was appointed in 2017 to be chief commander overseeing development of China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier in Shandong Province.

Source: Radio France International, December 26, 2023