By BridgeNews China this week said the 14 death sentences handed down to officials found to have been involved in a massive smuggling racket in southeast Xiamen was testament to Beijing's determination to provide "favorable conditions" for foreign investment. Foreign ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao made the comments one day after the first verdicts were issued in the case, believed to be China's largest corruption scandal since 1949. The state-controlled media reported late Nov. 8 that 84 people had thus far been tried in the ongoing case, with 14 receiving capital punishment, 12 handed life sentences, and an additional 58 receiving prison terms of various lengths. In the first state-controlled media report about the much-talked about case, it was revealed that since 1996 the racket -- which reached into multiple government departments -- was involved in the smuggling of commodities: oil, cars, cigarettes, and other goods. Smuggled goods brought into the mainland were reported to be worth an estimated 53 billion yuan (US$6.4 billion). "The trial by the People's Court fully demonstrates that our country, our government, and our party are fully determined to crack down on smuggling and corruption and we have taken effective measures to tackle this problem," Zhu told a regular press briefing. "The trial of this large case has testified to this fact that we are providing or creating more favorable conditions for foreign investors to have a level playing field in China."