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A billionaire from Southwest China's Sichuan Province Tre'Quan Smith Womens Jersey , who allegedly led a mafia-like gang, was prosecuted in Hubei Province on Thursday on over a dozen charges including intentional homicide.

The investigation into Liu Han, a 48-year-old mining magnate, and his "protection umbrella" is believed to be an effort by the authorities to further crack down on official corruption, said analysts.

Prosecutors in Xianning Marcus Davenport Womens Jersey , Hubei, filed criminal charges against Liu Han, his younger brother Liu Wei and another 34 people, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The case was heard at the Xianning Intermediate People's Court.

The gang, which owned assets of 40 billion yuan ($6.584 billion) and controlled 70 companies Sheldon Rankins Womens Jersey , is the largest mafia-style criminal group to be prosecuted in recent years in China.

Quoting the indictment, Xinhua said the group carried out illegal and criminal activities since it started in 1993. It controlled huge economic interests and seriously disturbed local public security and economic and social order.

Those activities mainly took place in Sichuan Province. The group was responsible for nine deaths, said the report.

The group had a weapons cache of three hand grenades, 20 guns, 677 bullets and 2 Alex Anzalone Womens Jersey ,163 steel ball shells.

Liu Han was held in March, 2013 for helping his brother Liu Wei evade capture over a 2009 shooting spree which caused three deaths in Guanghan, Sichuan.

Liu Han founded the Hanlong Group in 1997, a conglomerate that has businesses ranging from solar energy to mineral exploration.

In 2012, he ranked No.148 on the Forbes China Rich List with projected wealth of $855 million.

While Liu's mafia background was an open secret Marcus Williams Womens Jersey , he was described as "a man living a double life," said the Xinhua report.

He was a member of the political advisory body's standing committee in Sichuan and ranked 16th in the 2009 Hurun Philanthropy List with donations of 209 million yuan.

According to Xinhua, Liu was known as to have "a strong background and a powerful patron," which even gave him a big sway in the promotion or ousting of local officials.

The prosecution accused Liu's group of using myriad ways to cozy up to corrupt officials, seeking protection Ryan Ramczyk Womens Jersey , in order to consolidate and expand their influence.

Two officials from the public security bureau in Deyang as well as an official from the local procuratorate in Shifang were also prosecuted in this case, Xinhua reported.

Liu Wei confessed that he provided money and drugs to those officials. The officials acted as "protection umbrellas" for the group by leaking information, covering up their crimes, and even providing them with ammunition.

"The collusion between officials and mafia organizations reveals serious corruption issues which will reduce public confidence in social stability and justice," Zhu Lijia Marshon Lattimore Womens Jersey , director of Public Administration Studies at the Chinese Academy of Governance, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Zhu said that the investigation of corrupt officials and mafia organizations are often inter-related, and the crackdown on mafia organizations also represents an effective anti-corruption move.

The Beijing News quoted an unnamed source as saying that Liu Han may have a connection with Li Chongxi, a former top political advisor in Sichuan who was removed from his post for suspected severe violations of discipline last month.

The paper said Li's fall was linked to his work involving restructuring and acquisition in the mining industry. Liu Han was reportedly a big winner in the process.

Li was among the high-ranking officials ousted amid the authorities vow to crack down on corruption since the end of 2012.

BEIJING, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese central government has launched a project to improve transparency in local government affairs.

The project covers 100 counties and districts within 15 provincial regions Cameron Jordan Womens Jersey , including Beijing, Guangdong and Guizhou according to the General Office of the State Council on Monday.

Improved transparency is crucial to efficiency and service-oriented governance, said the plan.

Pilot counties must build better public platforms to assist accessing government files.

Besides government websites and information offices, the project will make better use of traditional media, such as bulletin boards.

At the end of a year Michael Thomas Womens Jersey , governments will report their experiences to the State Council, which will draw up national standards on the disclosure of grassroots government information.

China has over 2,800 counties and county-level districts.

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by Maria Vasileiou

THE HAGUE, May 22 (Xinhua) -- More international students are opting to study at Dutch universities, allured by degree courses taught entirely in English Alvin Kamara Womens Jersey , as Brexit threatens the international appeal of Britain's higher education.

"Applications from international students for both undergraduate and graduate programs have increased significantly this year," said Zoe den Boer, senior advisor of international marketing and student recruitment at Maastricht University. "Uncertainties relating to Brexit have influenced students, who are looking more actively into options offered elsewhere in English."

Maastricht University has experienced an increase of 35 percent in applications for its masters degrees and 10 percent for undergraduate courses from international students.

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