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Officials' performance to be tested in disaster relief
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The Communist Party of China (CPC) will "test" officials through their performance in the on-going earthquake disaster relief work, head of the CPC discipline watchdog said in Beijing Wednesday.

He Guoqiang, secretary of the CPC's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) required officials at all levels to properly perform their duties and "stand on the front line" of disaster relief.

He, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, said the CPC would award and encourage those who devoted themselves in disaster relief and would severely punish those with dereliction of duty or cowardice.

The official also asked inspectors to intensify supervision over management and the use of relief supplies to ensure they can reach the people in need as soon as possible.

Those found to be embezzling disaster-relief funds or donations will be severely punished according to the laws and regulations, he said.

He also ordered inspectors to step up monitoring and inspection to ensure local authorities were fully implementing central government disaster relief policies.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake centered on Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province, occurred on Monday afternoon and affected many parts of the country.

The death toll from the powerful earthquake stood at 14,866 as of 2 p.m. Wednesday and is expected to rise.

(Xinhua News Agecny May 15, 2008)

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