More derelict officials to be disciplined

By Chen Qingqing and Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/5 23:58:44

Repeat patterns of misconduct, malpractice during SARS: analyst

Medical workers help the first batch of patients infected with the novel coronavirus move into their isolation wards at Huoshenshan (Fire God Mountain) Hospital in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Feb. 4, 2020. (Xinhua/Xiao Yijiu)

Increasingly more unqualified and irresponsible officials in Central China's Hubei Province, epicenter of the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak, have been punished for dereliction of duty amid rising public fury over some local officials' inefficiency and misconducts in handling public health emergencies.   

Still, it is too early to see major local officials disciplined, as the country is investing all the energy and resources to battle the outbreak and more derelict officials would be held accountable for their failure to properly perform their duties at the later stage of the outbreak,, analysts said. 

On Tuesday, the discipline inspection authorities in Wuhan removed multiple officials from their posts for dereliction of duty, according to a report by the Hubei Daily, the official newspaper of the provincial Party committee. 

The punishment came one day after a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on the prevention and control of the pneumonia epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus. 

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said at the meeting that Party committees and governments at all levels should firmly follow the unified command, coordination and arrangement of the CPC Central Committee.  

Those who disobey the unified command or shirk off responsibilities will be punished, Xi said, adding that Party and government leaders supervising them would also be held accountable in severe cases.

Xia Guohua, deputy head of the Hubei Provincial Statistics Bureau, has been removed from his post and been issued a serious warning, as well as having a serious demerit recorded against him under Party discipline for misconduct while transporting medical masks that broke the regulations of distribution work for emergency materials.

Three officials from the Hubei branch of the Red Cross Society in China have been punished for improperly dealing with donations for the prevention and control of the pneumonia outbreak.

The move came after some recent incidents ignited public outrage on Chinese social media, which also brought local officials' behaviors into scrutiny. 

On Saturday, a man took out a box of 3M masks, which are in scarce supply amid the epidemic, from a temporary warehouse of the Wuhan Red Cross Society, and put it into a vehicle. The man told the reporters that he took these materials for his leader. 

The Hubei Province's anti-corruption and supervisory watchdog said some officials and workers at the branch did not shoulder their responsibilities or failed to perform their duties, and had engaged in misconduct related to information transparency. 

"It's still crucial time for fighting against the epidemic. This is a real-time battleground, and those who violate discipline and rules will sooner or later face punishment," said Su Wei, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee. 

Some officials in Wuhan and other places in Hubei have been harshly criticized for their misconduct in the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, but Su believed it is yet the proper time for handling all those who failed to fulfill their duties as the country is in the middle of a hard battle against the epidemic. 

Su noted some of the misconducts repeated that of malpractices during 2002-03 SARS outbreak, such as lack of information transparency. "But this time, they acted more quickly to correct their mistakes," he said. 

Other cities in Hubei also punished certain officials who slacked off on their jobs in fighting the battle. Huanggang has punished 337 officials and removed six leading civil servants from their posts. 

The local authorities' lack of awareness and preparation in responding to the outbreak is one of many examples of misconduct highlighted amid the epidemic, according to analysts. 

In a latest case, a number of residents in dozens of blocks in Baibuting residential community in Wuhan, the epidemic center, have fever, a symptom of the coronavirus infection. The residents were receiving tests for the virus on Wednesday.

Five days ahead of the city lockdown of Wuhan, this community organized a huge banquet, a traditional activity at the time of the Chinese New Year, where 40,000 people attended. 

Getting people together will also add to the possibility of becoming infected, and organizing such large-scale social activities reflected the ignorance of local authorities, which should also be held accountable, according to analysts. 


blog comments powered by Disqus