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Officials sacked after southwest China rubber plant unrest
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Two local officials were sacked for breach of duty in a rubber plant unrest in Menglian County, in which two people died and a few others injured, according to a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Yunnan Provincial Committee on Thursday.

Hu Wenbin, the county's party secretary, was striped of his post for dereliction of duty, as he falsely defined the interest conflict between rubber farmers and the plant as security problems intrigued by local gangsters. Hu was also found to use a luxury SUV provided by the rubber plant.

The provincial party committee said Hu's neglection led to the intensification of the conflict.

Xie Pikun, secretary of the political and law affairs committee of the CPC Pu'er Municipal Committee, was ordered to resign for inept actions as commander to see after the unrest.

Gao Xusheng, party secretary of Pu'er and Shen Peiping, mayor of Pu'er, were ordered to examine their own faults in written self-criticism letters to the provincial party committee. Menglian County is under the jurisdiction of Pu'er.

Other officials who hold shares of the rubber plant will be investigated by party disciplinary departments and procuratorates.

Local rubber farmers had been in disputes with the rubber plant in recent years and sometimes they had violent clashes.

Unrest occurred on July 19, when police investigating conflicts between rubber farmers and the plant were confronted by a crowd of villagers.

The police were forced to use baton guns when attacked by more than 400 people, local authorities said. The shots caused two deaths of local people, while 13 others and 41 policemen were injured in the incident, and several police cars were damaged.

(Xinhua News Agency September 5, 2008)

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