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Dereliction of duty in spotlight
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08:39, April 23, 2008

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Procuratorial departments will next month launch a nationwide campaign to combat dereliction of duty, specifically in areas concerned with energy and resources, and the environment, a top judge said yesterday.

"Endangering energy and resources, and the environment is serious in spite of the country making progress in economic and social development in the past 30 years," Wang Zhenchuan, deputy procurator-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, told a press conference in Beijing.

In some areas, economic projects are planned at the expense of energy and resources, and the environment. State laws are ignored, he said.

"Cases of destroying land, minerals, forests and hydraulic power happen frequently.

"Conduct involving power abuse, dereliction of duty, favoritism, committing irregularities and even dirty dealings, play an important part in these cases," Wang said.

Starting next month, prosecutors will concentrate on several major areas where dereliction of duty occurs.

The 18-month campaign will target government employees who abuse their power by illegally approving the occupation or requisitioning of land, underselling land-use rights of State-owned properties, and illegally awarding certification for forest harvesting.

Abuse of power is also seen in land management, coal pits, minerals, forests, water and power resources, city construction and planning, real estate development, road and transportation projects. All lead to serious financial losses, and trust of the people.

"A close watch will also be kept on those involved in the excessive use of energy and resources, and damaging the environment, who escape punishment, as well as those who profit from illegal gains, but are not prosecuted," Wang said.

Data show that from 2004 to last year, procuratorates punished 3,822 people for excessive use of energy and resources, and causing damage to the environment.

Their crimes not only hurt the people, but also led to losses of tens of billions of yuan, Chen Lianfu, director-general of the SPP's anti-dereliction of duty department, said.

In the past two years procuratorial departments have handled 1,193 dereliction of duty cases involving industrial accidents. They caused 6,465 deaths, and 1,215 serious injuries.

"Some accidents have been shocking," Chen said.

For example, on Dec 5, a gas explosion at the Ruizhiyuan coal mine in Shanxi province, killed 105 miners, he said.

"Dereliction of duty was found to be the cause of the accident," he said.

Nineteen people responsible for the mine's management and inspection have been investigated, he said.

Source: China Daily

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