Page last updated at 09:11 GMT, Friday, 15 May 2009 10:11 UK

Sacked China official in new job

By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing

Chinese local government official Shao Liyong
Mr Shao has managed to keep his career on track, despite being sacked

A Chinese government official sacked for arranging a sight-seeing tour using public money has quickly bounced back.

Shao Liyong was fired for a trip that happened as the rest of the country was in mourning following last year's massive earthquake in Sichuan province.

But the punishment has not affected his career - Mr Shao now has a similar post in a nearby city.

This is not the first time that a Chinese official has been given a new job after being sacked for misconduct.

Tourist spots

Chinese internet users have reacted angrily to Mr Shao's punishment. "This breaks our hearts," wrote one.

"He's an official with ethical problems, and should be fired and investigated. China lacks people with moral standards," said another.

But the city government in Weihai, where Mr Shao now works, was unrepentant.

"What's the big deal? He's very good at his job - why is the media making a big fuss about this?" a city government spokesman told the BBC.

Mr Shao was fired in June last year following an investigation ordered by China's national anti-corruption bureau and the communist party's central disciplinary commission.

That investigation found that Mr Shao, who was then a senior official in the city of Binzhou in Shandong province, committed a serious breach of discipline, according to media reports.

He organised a staff "research and study" visit to Fujian province just days after the Sichuan earthquake last May.

What's the big deal? He's very good at his job
Weihai government spokesman

The visit went ahead while the rest of China was coming to terms with the disaster - and donating money to earthquake-hit areas.

The investigation found that those on the trip did little work. The work was completed in less than one day, leaving four days to visit local tourist spots.

Mr Shao was sacked, but has now been handed a job as the deputy director of Weihai's industrial and commercial department.

There have been a number of similar cases over recent months.

Two officials disciplined after the tainted milk scandal last year have found new jobs, according to the state-run China Daily.

Following the revelations about Mr Shao, a professor from Beijing's People's University of China told the newspaper that the government and ordinary people had different definitions of accountability.

"From the government's perspective, it doesn't mean the involved officials, especially those not directly responsible, are sacked and barred from appointments indefinitely.

"But in the public's eyes, any removal from posts means just that."

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