XI'AN - A Chinese work safety official photographed grinning at the scene of a fatal bus crash late last month has been removed from his post for possessing a number of expensive watches and serious violation of discipline, local authorities said Friday.
Yang Dacai was dismissed from his position as member of the Shaanxi Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China (CPC), as well as head and Party chief of the provincial work safety administration, according to the provincial discipline watchdog.
The commission said a further investigation of Yang is under way.
Yang first came into the spotlight after he was photographed wearing a broad smile while surveying a collision between a bus and a methanol tanker that left 36 people dead on August 26.
His inopportune expression was seen as unsympathetic and aroused wide public indignation, although he explained that he was "unprepared" at the time the photo was taken and smiled at the site in an attempt to comfort his colleagues.
Yang then found himself targeted by netizens looking to rake the muck, with photos surfacing of Yang wearing 11 luxury wristwatches. Although Yang claimed he purchased the watches with his own salary, Internet users argued that a public servant could not possibly afford the expensive watches.
After the scandal broke, the provincial discipline watchdog said that Yang would be investigated and receive serious punishment if any disciplinary violation or corruption was found.