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Report: 500 Chinese lawmakers leave office over election fraud

By Joseph Netto and Ralph Ellis, CNN
December 29, 2013 -- Updated 0256 GMT (1056 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 56 provincial legislators allegedly offered bribes to 518 municipal lawmakers
  • Other officials dismissed for "serious dereliction of duty"

(CNN) -- More than 500 Chinese lawmakers accused of election fraud have been forced from office, the country's official Xinhua news agency reported.

The officials were disqualified, dismissed or resigned on Saturday following elections in Hunan at the Hengyang municipal people's congress, the local legislative body.

Fifty-six provincial lawmakers offered bribes to 518 municipal lawmakers and 68 staff members, a statement from the Hunan provincial people's congress said, according to Xinhua. The total amount of money involved exceeded 110 million yuan, or $18.14 million U.S. dollars, according to the statement.

The 56 provincial lawmakers were disqualified Saturday and 512 municipal legislator resigned, according to Xinhua.

Another five provincial lawmakers who didn't offer bribes were dismissed and three municipal lawmakers who didn't accept bribes resigned for "serious dereliction of duty," the statement said. Another six municipal lawmakers who took bribes had already been transferred.

Tong Mingqian, then party chief of Hengyang, was in charge of the election.

"Tong breached his duty as an official in charge and was directly responsible for this case," the statement said.

He was fired December 21 as vice chairman of the Hunan Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, according to Xinhua.

Cases of those suspected of breaking the law will be prosecuted, the statement said.

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