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Shijiazhuang party chief sacked over milk scandal
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The party chief of Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province, was sacked on Monday over the tainted milk powder scandal.

The dismissal of Wu Xianguo from his post as secretary of the Shijiazhuang Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was decided by the CPC Hebei Provincial Committee, according to the committee's organization department.

Wu was also dismissed as member of the standing committee of CPC Shijiazhuang Municipal Committee.

The provincial party committee said Wu did not properly deal with the delayed reporting by dairy producer Sanlu Group over the incident and thus should share responsibility.

Wu was also deprived of his membership of the standing committee of the CPC Hebei Provincial Committee under approval of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council.

Dairy giant Sanlu, based in Shijiazhuang, was the first company exposed in the tainted dairy products scandal, which has sickened nearly 1,3000 infants and killed at least three.

The CPC Hebei Provincial Committee has named Che Jun, deputy secretary of the provincial committee, as the city's party chief concurrently.

Ai Wenli was appointed as deputy secretary of CPC Shijiazhuang Municipal Committee and was removed from his former post of party chief of Chengde City in Hebei.

A number of local officials, including the mayor and vice mayor of Shijiazhuang, had been sacked over the spreading milk scare before Wu.

On Monday afternoon, China's chief quality supervisor Li Changjiang stepped down with the approval of the State Council over the incident.

Wang Yong replaced him as the director of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine and was removed from his former post of the deputy secretary-general of the State Council.

Monday's reshuffle decision was made in accordance with China's regulations on official accountability. Based on investigation findings, the government has concluded that the milk powder scandal was a vital food safety incident and Wu and Li were responsible for it.

(Xinhua News Agency September 22, 2008)
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