Officials who dozed at meeting to face rap

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 July, 2008, 12:00am

The moral of the story: when the boss calls a meeting to try to restore the government's reputation and you have to be there, don't fall asleep.

Twelve officials in Shaanxi province who dozed off during a meeting called last month following the 'paper tiger' photo scandal, are to be disciplined, mainland media reported yesterday.

The 12 were deemed to have negatively affected a government campaign to 'rectify' civil servants, Shaanxi vice-governor Zhao Zhengyong announced at a provincial plenary meeting on Tuesday.

They would also be disqualified from an annual civil servant assessment scheme, the Xian Evening News reported.

The decision was made after a photo showing a number of officials dozing at a meeting on June 30 drew a flood of criticism on the internet.

More than 1,000 high-level officials attended the meeting, where they were supposed to 'learn a lesson' from the paper-tiger saga.

An earlier account in the Huaxi Metropolis News stated that many officials dozed off, some snoring, shortly after the meeting started.

The controversy over the authenticity of photographs taken by hunter Zhou Zhenglong , supposedly of an endangered South China tiger in the wild, embarrassed the province. Many people long suspected the pictures had been fabricated despite assurances by provincial officials that they were authentic.

After months of intense criticism and doubts over the government's handling of the pictures, authorities in Shaanxi admitted on June 29 that the photos had been copied from a Lunar New Year poster.

The clarification dealt a heavy blow to the government's image and credibility, and 13 officials were sacked or punished.

Shaanxi Governor Yuan Chunqing was quoted by the Xian Evening News as saying at the plenary meeting that all civil servants should learn from the controversy.

'All civil servants should be more responsible and committed to the development of Xian,' he said.

The 12 dozers were not named.