REGIONAL> Major News
New row over Liaoning official
By He Na (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-11-27 08:00

A county Party secretary in Liaoning province, who was forced to resign for sending police officers to Beijing in January to arrest a reporter for her report about him, has sparked a new uproar in the media.

Zhang Zhiguo returned to work on Monday as deputy chief of Shenyang-Tieling urban rail construction, but was removed the following day due to an outcry in the media, the Tieling government said Wednesday on its website.

Tieling Television reported on Thursday that Zhang had been appointed to take charge of construction of an urban rail line between the provincial capital Shenyang and Tieling.

However, a Tieling government statement claimed the city had not assigned a new job to Zhang, former Party chief of Xifeng county.

Zhang's return was the personal decision of some leaders and not that of the government, the statement said.

Zhang's resignation is related to the official accountability system.

Officials who commit major mistakes should be suspended, or punished depending on the severity of their mistakes, according to the State Council's Work Guideline, which was passed in March.

Zhang's problems began when Xifeng police called off efforts to arrest a reporter in Beijing.

Zhu Wenna of Faren Magazine published a story in January, in which she claimed that Xifeng officials were not following procedures in a court case against a businesswoman Zhao Junping.

Zhu reported that Zhang had ordered the arrest of Zhao for libel after she had sent a message alleging corruption.

The woman's gas station had been demolished to make way for a market.

The article angered Zhang, who sent local police to Beijing to arrest Zhu.

The move sparked nationwide protest, forcing Xifeng police to withdraw the investigation against Zhu on Jan 9.

Then the Party's Tieling committee ordered Zhang to resign.

Yuan Weiliang, vice-mayor of the city, told the Xinhua News Agency on Tuesday that the rail project was an important one for the city.

"In May, when we considered staff for the project, we believed Zhang had resigned of his own accord, and had nothing to do at home, so we decided to give him a temporary job," Yuan said.

Zhang's return caused another uproar among the Chinese Internet community.

Many questioned his quick "return" because according to regulations he should have had to wait for at least a year before being appointed to another post, Xinhua said.