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Model Prosecutor Brought Positive Change to Tibet

Pub Date:18-03-02 15:17 Source:China Daily

On Sunday in Hefei, Anhui province, nearly two months after Zhou Huiming died, the veteran prosecutor was honored for his nearly three decades of service to the justice system.

Zhou was named a national model procurator by the Supreme People's Procuratorate and an "excellent Party member" by the Anhui Committee of the Communist Party of China in a ceremony attended by more than 1,000 people. Certificates and medals were presented to his wife and daughter.

Zhou, who died at age 53 in January, served as a procurator for 29 years after graduating from East China University of Political Science and Law in 1988.

He worked for the Hefei prosecuting authority until 2011, when he was assigned to help judicial officials in the Tibet autonomous region improve their practices.

Zhou stayed on for more than five years in Lhokha, which became a city in 2016. During that time, he contributed greatly to the local legal system, according to the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

After arriving in Tibet, he found that the annual number of corruption cases local prosecutors handled was limited. In some years, there were barely any.

Quoted in a Legal Daily report last year, Zhou said that while the number could be a reflection of the integrity of officials in Lhokha, he believed there could still be corrupt officials who had yet to be exposed.

In December 2011, when he was on vacation in Hefei, he saw a report on China Central Television about a serious outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease that had affected livestock and resulted in losses of more than 2 million yuan ($315,000).

Zhou suspected malfeasance by local officials and launched an investigation when he returned to Lhokha. He discovered that some officials whose job was to prevent epidemics had failed to vaccinate yaks and sheep, as required by the authorities.

The case won Zhou support from local farmers, according to media reports at the time.

He spent more than a year learning about the situation in Lhokha. At the start of 2013, he proposed strengthening the local procuratorate's role in curbing corruption and malfeasance, winning support from higher authorities.

In 2013, an investigation found that Lu Shuji, head of Lhokha's commerce bureau, had accepted 575,000 yuan in bribes from construction companies involved in rural infrastructure projects.

Data from the SPP show that prosecutors in Lhokha handled 12 cases related to officials failing in their duty in 2013, with the number climbing to 29 in 2014 and then to 34 in the next two years.

Cases handled between 2014 and 2016 made up nearly half the total across Tibet, despite Lhokha being home to only about 10 percent of the region's 3.3 million people.

Zhou's assignment in Lhokha should have ended in late 2013, but local authorities asked him to stay. Zhou agreed, even though his mother, who was 79, and his wife and daughter needed him in Anhui.

Recognizing Lhokha's need for help, he persuaded decision-makers in Anhui to send more prosecutors to the region. Since then, the province has sent 23 personnel to Lhokha.

"Zhou played an important role in promoting ties between Anhui and Lhokha, making it possible for the Anhui authorities to give us ongoing help," said Liu Zhigang, head of the Lhokha government.

During Zhou's more than five years in Lhokha, he was hailed by Tibetan authorities as a model of promoting unity among ethnic groups.

He returned to Hefei in September 2016 and was appointed deputy chief procurator of Xuancheng in August.

"He once told me that his health had deteriorated after living in Tibet, and he wanted to exercise more by playing table tennis with me after work," said Bian Dongsheng, one of Zhou's colleagues in Xuancheng.

Editor:Rita

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