An employe of a state-owned company was executed today and a government official was sentenced to 17 years in prison for taking bribes and leaking secrets to foreign businessmen.
Ye Zhifeng, 40, the government deputy section chief given the prison sentence, was said by Chinese sources to be the daughter of Ye Fei, a member of the Communist Party's Central Committee, a former commander of the Chinese Navy and vice chairman of the National People's Congress.
There was no indication that the elder Ye, now more than 70, was involved in any of his daughter's alleged wrongdoings.
The case involving Ye and Zhang Changsheng, 31, who was condemned to death, appeared to be among the biggest to be made public since the Communist Party began a major drive against corruption and economic crimes three months ago.
Ye was said to have revealed "important state secrets" concerning the import and export of automobiles to foreign and Hong Kong businessmen through Zhang, according to the official New China News Agency.
Ye Fei is the highest ranking official to be affected by the campaign, which official organizers have vowed would reach to the top levels of the party and government if necessary.
A commentary to be published in Tuesday's editions of the People's Daily, the leading Communist Party newspaper, said fishing for bribes has become a "prominent feature" of economic crimes in China, the news agency reported.
The news agency said bribes paid to Zhang Changsheng included nearly $2 million in Hong Kong dollars (about $250,000). It said bribes paid to Ye Zhifeng were much smaller. The agency said Ye also accepted an air conditioner and other goods as bribes by Hong Kong businessmen, who were trying to use her influence to get favorable prices for automobiles being imported into China.
The news agency report today said Ye was a deputy section chief of the import and export bureau of the state economic commission. It said she "took advantage of her position to reveal time and again important state secrets concerning the import of automobiles to foreign and Hong Kong businessmen through Zhang Changsheng."
Little is known about Zhang. The news agency described him as an employe of the Peking-based China Minority Nationality Economic and Cultural Development Corporation.
A western diplomat said the Chinese definition of state secrets was extremely broad and could cover information that would not be considered secret in the West.
Few details of Zhang's execution were given. The news agency said after an order of execution was read today at a court in Peking, "Zhang Changsheng was sent to the execution ground." The usual method of execution here is a pistol shot to the back of the head.