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Page last updated at 15:31 GMT, Monday, 23 June 2008 16:31 UK

China fires 12 quake officials

Tents in Sichuan province following the earthquake
Tent allocation was a major source of complaint following the quake

Twelve officials have been fired by the Chinese government for their handling of the earthquake that struck the country last month.

They were sacked for dereliction of duty and misuse of relief supplies following the Sichuan quake on 12 May.

The anti-corruption department received 1,178 complaints explosing "misuse of tents, food and other relief supplies", said Supervision Minister Ma Wen.

A further 31 officials were reprimanded by the department.

"Some [complaints] revealed the slow reaction and poor ability of a few cadres," Ms Ma added.

Anti-corruption drive

The quake killed nearly 70,000 people and made millions homeless, leaving the government with the massive task of finding them temporary housing.

School demolished after Sichuan earthquake
The ease with which some schools collapsed is being investigated
Ms Ma also reiterated that there would be investigations into possible corruption in the construction of schools - large numbers of which collapsed, killing thousands of students.

Engineers and parents of students killed have argued that weak cement and a lack of iron reinforcement may be signs that building funds were siphoned off.

The announcement comes as China's ruling Communist Party begins a campaign to implement a five-year plan aimed at building a policy framework for a clean and transparent government.

The central leadership has warned that their party's own survival depends on its ability to curb corruption.



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