Two officials disciplined for the melamine-tainted milk scandal were quietly reappointed to key positions months before their punishments were handed down to them. The Communist Party's disciplinary body said on March 20 that eight high-ranking central government officials had been sacked or severely punished. They were from the Ministry of Health, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the State Food and Drug Administration. Among them was Bao Junkai, deputy director of the food production supervision department under the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. Mr Bao was among the third group of officials punished over the contaminated milk, which led to the death of at least six children and made 300,000 ill nationwide. But an anonymous internet user said Mr Bao had already been promoted to become director of the Anhui Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, a more senior position. The promotion was listed on the official website of the bureau, which named Mr Bao as the director and party secretary. Information on the website said Mr Bao participated in official events as the bureau chief as early as December last year, three months before the disciplinary announcement was made. A similar case was found with Liu Daqun, head of the Hebei Agriculture Department, who was appointed deputy party secretary of Xingtai, Hebei, last November, and became city mayor in January, two months before he was disciplined for the scandal, the Beijing News reported. The finding caused uproar in the media and on the Net, with many calling it 'beyond comprehension'. It reignited memories of officials who had been disciplined for their wrongdoing or dereliction of duty quietly resuming office. In one instance, Wang Zhenjun, former deputy head of Hongdong county in Shanxi, who was sacked in 2007 as he was ultimately responsible for widespread child slavery at brick kilns, has returned to public office as a county chief assistant. Wang Xixin, a professor of law at Peking University, said Mr Bao's case highlighted a trend of officials using administrative accountability to avoid taking legal responsibility. 'Ordinary residents expected that, if an official took the accountability and was disciplined, he might lose his job and his welfare as a senior official. But that's not the reality in China,' Professor Wang said.