05/07/2009, 00.00
CHINA
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Managers behind Melamine milk scandal are promoted

Immediately after the scandal broke (6 new-borns dead, 300 thousand ill) managers who failed to control the quality of the milk were fired and punished. Months later many have been promoted to new and prestigious posts. On the internet the peoples outrage.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Bao Junkai, former deputy director of food quality supervision, accused of being responsible for the “melamine milk scandal” had been removed from his post.  In March he was subjected to disciplinary proceedings.  Now he is back and has been promoted to a more important position.

In September a scandal exploded across China of milk that was tainted with harmful melamine, a substance used in plastic products but poisonous to man.  Melamine is similar in composition to protein, so superficial studies made the milk appear rich in protein, instead it was toxic.  At least 6 new born babies died from having drunk milk with traces of the substance while a further 300 thousand became ill because of it.  Public opinion was outraged and the top managers of major milk formula producer Sanlu, were condemned to death or life imprisonment.  The managers of General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) were fired including Bao, who at the time was deputy director of the office governing food quality control.

But as early as December he was appointed head of the Anhui Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau - a more senior position than his original one. Now he has been appointed deputy head of AQSIQ science and technology department.

The news was met with outrage on the internet with many negative postings.  Some claimed that the real problem is the authorities “lack of transparency”, who fail to publicise the findings of disciplinary hearings or explain similar decisions.

Meanwhile ChinaDaily reports a similar turn of events for Liu Daqun, former agricultural director for the province of Hebei home to Sanlu. Liu was also “reprimanded” in March.  Now he is mayor and deputy secretary of the Party in Xingtai, Hebei.

These cases are not the exception.  Wang Zhenjun was deputy chief of Hongdong (Shanxi) when a mudslide buried 254 people in 2008. Local authorities were accused of having omitted basic security and prevention measures.  Now he is assistant to the country chief.

One blogger commented “It is unthinkable for a senior qualification inspection official to be secretly promoted to another post when the whole country was still outraged and the central government still investigating the case”.

 

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