Xie Zhenhua, former director of the State Environmental Protection
Administration (SEPA), who accepted the blame for a 2005 chemical spill that
seriously polluted the Songhua River and resigned, was recently appointed deputy
director of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's
top economic planner.
Xie is now in charge of environmental protection and energy saving, the new
main focus of the NDRC's work, the 21st Century Business Herald reported.
Earlier, Ma Fucai, former president of China National Petroleum Corporation,
who resigned after an oil well eruption accident in Southwest China's Chongqing
Municipality in 2004, became a deputy director of the State Energy Office in
These reappointments have stirred debate on the feasibility and solemnity of
the country's current administrative accountability system.
Bi Wenzhang, a column writer with
Xie was blamed for the Songhua River pollution accident and should shoulder
his responsibility. To reappoint him one year later shakes the solemnity of the
administrative accountability system. Many officials won't take the system
seriously in the future.
Zhu Shugu, a national commentator in newspapers
and on the Internet:
It is good that the country has its official appointment and accountability
systems. There is also nothing wrong with the government reappointing those who
have talent. But I suggest that the country establish an effective reappointment
system, too, for sacked officials. The new regulation should define a series of
terms that sacked personnel should meet first before assuming new roles.
Wang Xiongjun, a PhD candidate in political
science at Peking University:
Under the country's administrative accountability system, sometimes
high-ranking officials resign even though they are not directly responsible for
the accidents. They resign for their own sense of responsibility and to preserve
the solemnity of the existing accountability system. But the country is now in
dire need of talent, and it is reasonable for the central government to assign
new roles to those resigned officials. It has been a common practice in ancient
China for those guilty officials to do their part in making up for their
Zhou Hui, who works for a government office in
The focus of the dispute should be whether the current
administrative accountability system is feasible and effective. Having a few
high-ranking officials resign temporarily and take the responsibility for some
hazardous accidents, many of which are caused by regulative loopholes, simply
won't work. I suggest the country first modify its administrative accountability
system, punish those who deserve it and use them as examples to impress upon
others the need for such a system.