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2 more officials sacked after protest over girl's death
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Two more county officials in a southwest Chinese county were sacked on Friday following a violent protest over a teenage girl's death last Saturday.

Wang Qin, Party secretary of Weng'an County, where the protest happened, and Wang Haiping, the head of the county government, were sacked, the Guizhou provincial committee of the Communist Party of China announced.

Long Changchun, a member of the standing committee of the Party committee of the Qiannan Prefecture, which administers Weng'an, was appointed as the new county Party secretary.

The provincial committee also recommended Xie Xiaodong to the county people's congress as the county head.

A violent protest, involving 30,000 people, broke out on June 28 following a police report on the death of a junior high school student Li Shufen. Police said the 17-year-old drowned, but her family and relatives contended she was raped and murdered.

The protesters rampaged through government buildings and torched more than 160 offices and about 40 vehicles. More than 150 police and protesters were injured, most slightly, and no deaths were reported.

A third autopsy concluded on Thursday that the girl drowned, upholding previous results.

Provincial Party Chief Shi Zongyuan said the deep-rooted reasons behind the protest were "rude and roughshod solutions" by local authorities to solve disputes over mines, the demolition of homes for public projects, the relocation of residents for reservoir construction and other issues.

On Thursday, two top police officials in Weng'an were replaced for "serious malfeasance".

"Some officials neglected their duties, but resorted to police force when any dispute happened, which led to strained relations between officials and the people, and police and the public," Shi said.

Shi also blamed local authorities for long-standing disregard for rampant crime in the county and incompetence in maintaining public security.

He urged Weng'an officials to make the people's rights and interests their first priority and to deal with public grievances.

"If the people's rights and interests are hurt by improper polices or government decisions, we should admit mistakes and correct them promptly," he said.

He also told local government to strengthen construction of the cadre team and management of the police force and vowed to seriously punish those who covered up for criminals.

(Xinhua News Agency July 5, 2008)

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