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Chinese entrepreneur gets death sentence

Associated Press / December 19, 2009

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BEIJING - A Chinese businesswoman was sentenced to death yesterday for cheating investors out of $56 million - the latest case in the country’s struggle against widespread corruption.

Wu Ying, 28, started out a decade ago with a single beauty salon but eventually built up a holding group, Bense Holdings, that was known around the country, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

The report said Wu collected the $56 million from investors over two years and was arrested in 2007. In video posted online of her sentencing, Wu showed little emotion as she was led into the courtroom.

In China, the death penalty is used even for nonviolent crimes such as corruption or tax evasion. The country’s highest court, which reviews all death sentences, this year called for it to be used less often and for only the most serious criminal cases.

Amnesty International has said China put at least 1,718 people to death in 2008.

The Intermediate People’s Court in Jinhua city, eastern Zhejiang Province, said Wu used the money for personal use and operating costs and to pay off loans.

The Xinhua report said Wu confessed but then retracted her confession in April.