The party head of Yaan city, Sichuan province, was removed from his post, the municipal government said on Sunday night on its official Sina Weibo blog.
The statement said the decision was made by the Communist Party’s Sichuan committee but did not mention the reason for Xu Jengjia’s removal. Xu will be replaced Ye Zhuang, secretary general of Sichuan provincial government and director of the general office of Sichuan provincial government.
Many mainland media organisations circulated the report on Monday, highlighting recent rumours that Xu may be involved in corruption.
But a female official within the news office of the Yaan government on Monday refused to comment on whether there was an internal investigation into Xu’s conduct.
“So far, we just can announce he’s been removed from the post. Nothing further can be said at this moment.” she said, refusing to offer her name.
Xu was widely criticised in April over his bureaucratic handling of the relief efforts in the wake of the Yaan earthquake, which left some 196 people dead and hundreds injured.
In a video released by China Central Television on April 20, a TV anchor asked Xu to talk about disaster-relief efforts in the wake of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake.
By way of reply, Xu listed the names and titles of authorities that had visited the area. The anchor interrupted Xu, saying “Perhaps we know more about the response of local authorities than you do ... please discuss specific elements of the relief efforts.”
The video of the interview was hailed by internet users and prompted the Yaan government on April 29 on its official blog to deny rumours circulating online that Xu had been abusing his position and taking bribes during his tenure as party chief.
This follows as Liao Shaohua, the party head of Zunyi city, Guizhou – and member of the provincial party standing committee, Guizhou province – was removed from his post in late October and placed under investigation for alleged violations of the law and breaches of discipline.
Liao, 53, spent nearly two decades in various posts within China’s state-owned railway corporation. He is the eleventh official ranked deputy minister or higher that has been brought down in an anti-graft campaign that started when the new leadership under Xi Jinping took power in November last year.