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Milk scandal culprits rehired

By  Liang Chen (Global Times)

08:28, September 14, 2012

A lawyer representing victims of the melamine-tainted milk scandal in 2008 is demanding authorities release information regarding the promotion or reinstatement of officials who were punished for wrongdoings in the aftermath of the scandal.

This was in response to the public outcry over news that Sun Xianze, former head of the food safety department at the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) who was given an administrative demerit in 2009, has been promoted to the SFDA's deputy director.

"There should be public release of his resume and wrongdoings before the promotion," Li Fangping, a Beijing-based lawyer who helped victims of the scandal, told the Global Times, adding that the promotion process lacks transparency.

Sun, who began working for the SFDA in 2003, made his post-punishment debut at a meeting in Beijing on policymaking of the pharmaceutical industry on September 6, reported the Beijing Times.

He is also listed as one of the SFDA's core leaders on its website. The date of his promotion is not known. The SFDA refused to comment when contacted by the Global Times.

"A notice should be released to the public when an official who has been punished is about to get promoted," Lin Zhe, a professor at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, told the Global Times.

A total of six officials who were fired or punished for their negligence in the scandal have been promoted or reinstated to an official post, including Li Changjiang, former director of the SFDA, and Wu Xianguo, former secretary of the Shijiazhaung City Committee of the CPC in Hebei Province, said the news portal caixin.com.

"It is easy for officials who want to do great things to make mistakes," Lu Qun, deputy director of the anti-corruption office at the Hunan Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection, said on his Sina Weibo. Lu believes that ending people's careers would make officials passive at work.

"China lacks a harsh mechanism to hold those culpable officials accountable, and some disgraced officials get promoted or reinstated shortly after being punished," Lin Zhe said.

Officials seeking a second chance should solemnly take responsibility for their mistakes and reach out to the victims, Lin said.

According to regulations on dereliction of duty by civil servants and officials, officials, who have been given a demerit as a consequence of serious misconduct, cannot be promoted.

Officials who have been demoted for wrongdoings have to wait for two years before being reinstated, said the regulation.

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