Disciplinary charges against 24 teachers who drank alcohol with a meal has been dropped following public outcry.
The Commission for Disciplinary Inspection in Tunliu county, Shanxi province, on Sept 30 ordered two principal teachers to publicly self-criticize themselves for consuming alcohol with a meal on a weekday. It ordered the other 22 teachers to appear before the commission.
However, the Commission for Disciplinary Inspection in the province's Changzhi city, a higher-level anti-graft authority, announced on Sunday that disciplinary measures taken against the teachers were improper.
"The decision did not have appropriate grounds and the measures were improper," it said.
Teachers from the county's No 1 Middle School spent a total of 1,390 yuan ($207) on a meal that included alcohol on Sept 9, a day before Teachers' Day. The teachers paid for the meal out of their own pockets.
The decision, as well as the revocation, has received wide public attention amid the country's continuing anti-graft campaign.
In contrast to the popular support usually offered by netizens over disciplinary decisions against corrupt officials, most comments online said that the local anti-graft authority had misinterpreted the "eight-point rules", or austerity rules, introduced by the central government on Dec 4, 2012, adding that the action taken was unfair.
"The teachers did not use public money to pay for their lunch. In addition, they had a half day off on that day ahead of Teachers' Day. They should not be blamed for their behavior," said a post published by Huang Dachuan on Oct 10.
The eight-point rules aim to reduce bureaucracy, extravagance and undesirable work practices of Party members. With clauses focusing on various forms of corruption and unauthorized use of government cars, the rules have played a significant role in the country's anti-corruption campaign.