2017-04-05 10:37:57

A mailman in eastern China found a lucrative scheme that wasn’t exactly within the letter of the law.

Specifically, he tampered with mail about official misconduct meant for the local discipline inspection committee — the Party’s corruption watchdog — and then passed these reports on to the cadres implicated in them.

The mailman, surnamed Bao, was sentenced to 22 months in prison, a social media account affiliated with Beijing newspaper Legal Evening News reported Tuesday.

The mailman for the Yingshang County post office in Anhui province was arrested in July 2016 for opening letters addressed to the county’s government, Party committee, and discipline inspection committee. He was discovered to have been opening mail since 2007, and had amassed a collection of more than 40 intercepted letters he kept in a black briefcase stowed under his car seat.

Bao also passed on letters with damaging information to officials. He had reportedly given three letters to the deputy head of the county education bureau, and had sold seven letters to the deputy head of the county courthouse for money and liquor. The two officials no longer hold those positions.

Discipline committees across the country keep tabs on government and Party officials for signs of wrongdoing, ranging from poor work ethic to graft. Since President Xi Jinping launched his anti-corruption campaign in late 2012, more than a million officials have been disciplined; last year alone, some 415,000 Party cadres were punished.

The Yingshang County People’s Court sentenced Bao to 22 months’ imprisonment for the crime of secretly opening and hiding mail — a sentence that was upheld by the intermediate court that heard his appeal. The appeal verdict was delivered on Feb. 7, 2016, but was only recently reported on.

Legal Evening News said that because Bao had been forthcoming and had admitted guilt, he was eligible for a more lenient sentence. However, he was nevertheless severely punished because he had damaged efforts to clean up government and had “gravely harmed the glorious image the public holds of the Party and the government.”

Editor: Sarah O’Meara.

(Header image: A whistleblower holds incriminating documents in Yancheng, Jiangsu province, May 7, 2014. Gao Zheng for Sixth Tone)