China's top legislature will consider possible penalties for government officials who use "accepting cash gifts" as an excuse for taking bribes, Beijing newspaper the Mirror reported on Saturday.
The National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee will convene a bimonthly session from Oct. 27 to Nov. 1, and lawmakers will consider a series of draft laws and amendments, including a draft amendment to the criminal law.
According to the report, officials accepting cash gifts are not susceptible to criminal charges under the current law, and many crooked officials have sought to defend themselves from bribe-taking charges by alleging that the bribes they took were only gifts from friends.
The new law, if passed, will deem receiving cash gifts of a considerable amount punishable for all government officials, the report said, citing Chen Xingliang, a law professor at Peking University.
The penalties for "accepting cash gifts," however, will be lighter compared to those for taking bribes, Chen said.