Former Beijing Airport Director Is Executed

By MICHAEL WINES and MARK McDONALD

BEIJING — China executed the former chairman of a huge state-owned airport holding company on Friday, six months after he was convicted on bribery and embezzlement charges involving more than $14.6 million.

The executive, Li Peiying, had been the chairman and general manager of Capital Airports Holding Company, a conglomerate that runs 30 airports in 9 Chinese provinces, including Beijing’s much-acclaimed new international airport.

China’s state-run news agency, Xinhua, said that Mr. Li, 60, was executed in Jinan, a Yellow River city in Shandong Province. The province’s Higher People’s Court rejected an appeal in July.

The execution underscored the gravity of the national government’s campaign against official corruption, which President Hu Jintao has labeled a serious threat to stability. The Communist Party announced this week that it was investigating a member of its ruling authority, the party’s Central Committee, apparently for corruption in the nation’s nuclear industry. News reports stated that that official, Kang Rixin, was suspected of embezzlement and bidding irregularities related to the construction of nuclear power plants.

In recent months there has also been the firing of a big-city mayor and the arrest of a former senior oil-company executive on corruption charges.

At his peak, Mr. Li, the airport executive, supervised a 38,000-employee behemoth that not only served 30 percent of the nation’s air passenger traffic, but also began forays into insurance, hotels, real estate and tourism.

Last February a court in Jinan ruled that he had embezzled $12.1 million from the company over a three-year period ending in 2000, and had accepted an additional $3.9 million in bribes during an eight-year period starting in 1995.

Most of the bribes received by Mr. Li — reportedly for loans or loan guarantees — came from Qin Hui, owner of the popular Paradise nightclub located in the luxury Great Wall Sheraton Hotel in Beijing, according to the newspaper Shanghai Daily.

China executes more convicts than any other nation. In Beijing last month, Chen Tonghai, the former chairman of China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, the oil giant known as Sinopec, was sentenced to death for taking more than $28 million in bribes. He was given a two-year reprieve for helping prosecutors with other investigations.

Michael Wines reported from Beijing, and Mark McDonald from Hong Kong.