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Officials Sacked over Fake Milk Fiasco

A number of officials in Fuyang, a city in eastern China’s Anhui Province where 12 infants died after consuming fake milk powder, have been ordered to resign. The Ministry of Supervision is also imposing other administrative punishments.


Vice Mayor Ma Mingye, who was responsible for commercial and industrial affairs in the city; Fuyang Industry and Commerce Bureau Director Zhou Yisheng; and Ding Liling, vice-director of the local bureau of public health, were all ordered to resign.


They have also received special demerits in their records, a severe administrative punishment that could effectively ruin their official careers, and a serious warning within the Party ranks.


Fuyang Mayor Liu Qingqiang was given a special demerit in his record.


The punishments were meted out in accordance with the Regulation on Disciplinary Punishments within the Communist Party of China and the temporary regulation on civil servants. They follow a thorough investigation by an inspection team dispatched by the Ministry of Supervision.


Investigation revealed that huge quantities of inferior milk powder with little nutritional value entered the rural markets in Fuyang through wholesale markets in Hefei, Bengbu, and Fuyang of Anhui Province and Zhengzhou of central China’s Henan Province.


Babies who were fed these products failed to grow and developed weakened immune systems, leading ultimately to disease and even death in some cases.


In Fuyang alone, 12 infants died and another 189 suffered malnutrition in varying degrees.


The inspectors concluded that the Fuyang government should be held responsible for its lax supervision over the market.


Local bureaus of industry and commerce and public health checked the markets and warned consumers by publishing a blacklist of substandard milk powders after the first complaint was filed in May 2003. But inspectors found that the markets were not sufficiently streamlined and related laws and regulations were not enforced strictly enough by the local administration to remove the threat.


Yang Shuxin, director of the local bureau of fair competition, has been removed from his post and expelled from the Party. Local public prosecutors are also looking into his alleged manipulation of laws for his own benefit.


The Ministry of Supervision has pledged that it will continue its investigations into this incident in order to ensure the safety of the people.


The provincial administration of Anhui has urged its officials to learn a lesson from this incident and faithfully fulfill their duties.


(China Daily June 10, 2004)


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