Officials sacked over deadly blaze back in top posts

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2012, 12:00am

Two former Shanghai officials sacked following a blaze in a high-rise building that killed at least 58 people 15 months ago have returned to senior posts - one in Xinjiang and the other with a leading government-run developer in Shanghai.

Zhang Renliang, stripped in June of his posts as the head of Jingan district and its deputy party secretary, has been named deputy party secretary in Kashgar prefecture in southern Xinjiang. His new boss, regional party secretary Cheng Zhenshan, announced the move early last month, according to Kashgar news portal Xjksxw.com.

Xu Sunqing, the former vice-governor of Jingan district who was also sacked last year, has been named vice-president of the Huangpu River Banks Development and Construction Investment Company, which is developing land along the Huangpu River. His position was announced on January 10 on the website of the city's Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.

In June, the State Council, leading a team to investigate the inferno, announced that 26 officials and company employees had been disciplined, while a further 28 officials were sacked or disciplined.

The appointments of Zhang and Xu prompted much comment online. One internet user was angry at the lack of transparency in the government's personnel system. Another user said he was used to sacked officials making comebacks, and he would no longer believe any punishment handed down to them unless the penalty was death.

Zhang and Xu are among the latest officials to have swiftly returned to official positions after being publicly disgraced over high-profile incidents. In November, Wu Xianguo, who was removed from his positions as the party boss of Shijiazhuang in Hebei and as a member of the Communist Party's standing committee in the province for his role in the melamine-tainted-milk scandal, appeared at an important party meeting.

It was seen as a sign that he was primed to return in an official capacity.

Other well-known officials who were sacked and later resurfaced include Yu Youjun, who was removed as deputy minister of culture for alleged graft but later named deputy head of the South-North Water Diversion Project, and Meng Xuenong, fired twice, as Beijing mayor and then Shanxi governor, before being named a top leader with a Communist Party Central Committee organisation.

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