Despite widespread international criticism for its frequent use of the death penalty, China has executed two officials from its eastern cities after convicting them of corruption.
Xu Maiyong, a former vice-mayor of Hangzhou, and Jiang Renjie, who was vice-mayor of Suzhou, were put to death after their appeals were rejected.
The charges brought against them? According to officials, Xu and Jiang embezzled almost 300m yuan ($46 million) through bribes.
According to a recent BBC report, corruption is one of the main causes of public discontent in China. Hundreds of officials are convicted every year. But only a handful are executed, and it is extremely rare for two officials to be put to death on the same day.
"Xu was said to be well known for his extravagant lifestyle - reports said investigators found gold bullion and expensive jewellery at his home. State-run Xinhua news agency reported that he used his power to interfere with project contracts and to help companies and people obtain land, promotions and tax breaks. The 52-year-old was sentenced to death in May for taking almost 200m yuan (about $30 million) in bribes and embezzled funds. Jiang, 62, was given the death penalty in 2008 for taking more than 100m yuan (about $15 million) in bribes," BBC report.
Earlier this year, President Hu Jintao gave an ominous speech in which he focused on corruption and declared that it must be rooted out because it "could cost the party the support of the people."
Although the two cases are not "officially" linked, both men were high-ranking members of the Communist Party. In fact, several high-profile officials have been executed in recent years - including Shanghai's former party boss, and a former head of the country's main nuclear firm.
It is really to keep the party "pure" or are other motives at play?