China punishes 43 officials over earthquake response, corruption

Other News Materials 23 June 2008 16:26 (UTC +04:00)

China has punished 43 officials who misused relief goods intended for victims of the devastating Sichuan earthquake or failed to join rescue efforts, state media said on Monday.

Most cases involved "improper distribution of tents and food, and the rest are about slow or inefficient official responses," the official Xinhua news agency quoted China's top anti-corruption official as saying.

Twelve officials were sacked while the others were given "administrative sanctions" and disciplinary measures by the ruling Communist Party, Minster of Supervision Ma Wen said.

Ma said the government had already resolved 1,007 of the 1,178 public complaints about officials' work during the relief operations after the May 12 earthquake, which killed more than 69,000 people and left about 18,500 missing, reported dpa.

The agency reported last month that one village-level Communist Party official was sacked after he continued running his grocery store and ignored orders to join earthquake relief work.

Liu Dingxiang ran his store in Tuanjie village, in the badly hit Dujiangyan district of Sichuan, despite orders from the party for all officials to take part in relief and rescue work.

The behaviour of Liu and another official punished for avoiding relief work in Dujiangyan caused "bad social influence," the agency quoted party disciplinary investigators as saying.

The other official sacked for not joining relief work was Li Shu, a research official at the Dujiangyan city archives.

Xiao Rong, the deputy head of the city's civil affairs bureau, was also sacked for dereliction of duty in recording the number of casualties from the earthquake.

Xiao was held responsible for a "miscount of casualty tallying in the city," the agency said without elaborating.