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Leaders held responsible for accidents
By Jiang Zhuqing (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-30 08:49

China should put in place workplace safety legislation to consolidate the "take the blame and resign" system among officials for the long term, a work safety official said Thursday.

"The introduction of the 'take the blame and resign' system to handle workplace accidents shows the government's intense concern for people's lives," said Huang Yi, spokesman for the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) during a press conference Thursday in Beijing.

A recent example is that of Chen Yingquan, former petroleum chief in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, who was removed from his post in connection with a gas blowout that caused a total of 233 deaths in Chongqing Municipality late last year, Xinhua reported.

As the former head of the Sichuan Provincial Petroleum Administration, Chen should bear most of the blame for the tragedy, which occurred in Kaixian County on December 23, said Chen Geng, president of the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), on Wednesday.

He noted that "the decision has been made in accordance with the request of the State Council."

The central government sent a team of investigators to Chongqing and requested the petroleum giant to "draw a lesson from the disaster" and penalize officials that were held responsible for the accident, he said.

Before Chen's removal, three officials responsible for three severe accidents that caused mass deaths and huge economic losses had accepted blame and resigned, Huang said.

They were: Ma Fucai, former general manager of CNPC; Zhang Wen, head of Beijing's suburban Miyun County; and Gang Zhanbiao, mayor of Jilin in Northeast China's Jilin Province.

Mayor Zhang Rengui of Haining city, East China's Zhejiang Province, resigned yesterday over a worship house fire in February in the city.

The idea behind the move to make "take the blame and resign" a widely accepted practice is to establish the necessary rules and regulations, Huang said.

Recently, the Central Committee of Chinese Communist Party approved new rules for the resignation of Party and government officials, he said.

Nine cases of bad management were listed under which officials are required to resign if at fault.

Those cases involve wrong decisions that lead to negative political impact or great economic losses and neglect of duty that leads to serious accidents.

In June 2001, suggestions published by the Shenzhen authority stipulated that "leading cadres who cause great losses by wrong personal decision-making or mistakes in jobs should take the blame and resign."

On November 20 last year, the Sichuan authority unveiled its "temporary measures on leading cadres' to take blame and resign" in which it outlined cases when cadres should resign.

During the NPC and CPPCC sessions this year, attendees called for a system of blame taking and resignation for civil servants in order to make them responsible for their own acts and prevent abuses of power.

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