|August 18, 2006
|Accident scene of Xin Feng Power
Local authorities built a power plant without authorization. The
national press has given great prominence to what is being
considered as a warning for all officials. Experts say only a
free press can guarantee effective monitoring of the activities
of local authorities.
– The State Council has announced it will punish the highest
ranking government officials of the government and Party of
Inner Mongolia for pressing ahead with the construction of an
important power plant without authorization and ignoring central
government directives. The news, revealed on 16 August, is held
to be a warning to all local authorities that are increasingly
following policies independently of Beijing.
official Xinhua news agency said the government of Inner
Mongolia set up a coal-fired power plant costing 2.89 billion
yuan with a productive capacity of 8.6 gigawatts without regular
approval. It was further accused of resorting to illegal use of
land, filing false claims and breaching safety regulations,
leading to the death of six workers and wounding of eight in an
accident in July last year.
Council decision, communicated after a session chaired by the
President, Wen Jiabao, is an admonition to local authorities not
to ignore orders from Beijing to scale back on investments to
slow down economic growth.
Communist style, sanctions against the “guilty” are above all
disciplinary in nature. The Ministry of Supervision ordered
party officials, Huercha and Huang Alatengbielige to write
self-criticism letters. Ma Dacheng, the deputy general manager
of the plant, was given a demerit and Wang Dong, its general
manager and party chief, was demoted. Both received a warning.
and a warning were also handed down to Hao Zhiqiang, the plant’s
general manager and chairman and director of the electricity
bureau in Ulanqab, and to Zhao Fengshan, general manager and
deputy party chief of Inner Mongolia.
serious punishments were meted out to Chen Hongjun and Guo Lei,
contractors involved in the building of the plant: they will be
prosecuted for not observing safety norms, causing the accident
that killed the workers.
chairman of Inner Mongolia, Yang Jing , and his two deputies,
Yue Fuhong and Zhao Shuanglian , must write self-criticism
letters, and a letter criticizing the entire local government
apparatus has already been circulated.
It is the
first time Beijing has publicly shamed the officials of a
provincial government for their failure to heed national
measures designed to slow the economy. Xinhua said the
move was intended to create a precedent and as a warning to
respect the central government’s macroeconomic policies.
experts doubt it will stop the activities of local governments
that are increasingly looking to the rapid development of their
own economies. Peking University law school professor, He
Weifang, said: "There is great gap between the central and local
governments, but Beijing just gives orders and never tries to
understand the core reasons why local officials fail to
implement policies.” In immense China, “without an efficient
supervision mechanism like freedom of press on the mainland to
supervise local officials' actions, any orders and policies are
just hollow words." (PB)