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Chengdu axes 16 ineffective officials
By Wang Zhenghua (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-24 07:51

The recent removal of more than a dozen ineffective officials in Chengdu, provincial capital of Southwest China's Sichuan, sent out a shockwave in the province's political circles.

Instead of being caught having made serious misleading decisions or been in connection with deadly accidents, the incompetent leaders at various levels were just axed for "not being in an appropriate condition" when working.

According to the Shanghai-based East Morning Post, the term "inappropriate working condition" has become a pet phrase in Sichuan's political arena.

Originally a saying in sports, it was borrowed by Li Chuncheng a top Chengdu official to describe incompetent officials after he found during random inspections some who were not focusing on their work, or whose local areas were showing low economic development.

Wang Guangyou, Party secretary of Huaikou, a town some 40 kilometres northeast of Chengdu, is believed to be the first of the 16 officials removed for not being in an appropriate working condition, or simply for being lazy.

It's reported that Huaikou, a town given great priority by the country and province to develop its economy, was found to be at the same development level as it was three years ago under Wang's administration.

Furthermore, Wang's reply to Li's inquiry was far from satisfactory, so he was soon removed from his post.

Another official caught not doing his work appropriately was Xie Shujun, director of the industrial and commercial bureau of Chengdu.

He was removed earlier this month allegedly for neglecting his duties and having a local villager illegally process poisonous pickles for eight years before the incident was exposed recently by the central media.

Xie was quoted as saying that he figured "inappropriate working conditions" referred to inactivity and being afraid of shouldering responsibility after the accident.

But some people said the concept of not being "in condition" is still too vague, and worry the concept will be abused.

At the moment in China, officials responsible for accidents that caused mass deaths and huge economic losses could be easily discovered and punished.

"The key is to establish a scientific assessment system," Pengzhou vice-mayor Yang Mingxiang was quoted as saying.

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