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An aerial photo of Sanjiangyuan National Park in Northwest China's Qinghai province. [Photo provided to]

June 21, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR – A total of 3,400 officials have been held accountable for environmental violations discovered in the second round of the country’s high-profile central environmental inspection, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said in a media release on Monday.

Of them, 3,035 are from the 31 provincial-level regions covered by the round of inspection that lasted from May 2020 to June 2022, including 371 cadres of prefecture-level and 1,244 ones in positions equivalent to county heads or deputy county heads.

In the country’s ranking system for officials, prefecture-level is between ministerial and county head levels.

Working under ministerial-level officials, teams of the central environmental inspection report to a central group headed by a vice-premier and its office based in the ministry.

About half of the 3,035 local government officials have been given Party and government disciplinary punishment, and 782 officials were summoned, it said, without going into details.

There are five forms of disciplinary action for Party members: warning, severe warning, removal from a position within the Party, probation within the Party and expulsion from the Party.

As for government disciplinary punishment, officials will be warned, given demerit, demoted, and removed from their posts or expelled.

In China, officials who are warned or given demerit will be deprived of being promoted for a certain period of time. The Party and government disciplinary punishment doesn’t exempt them from bearing legal liabilities. Their cases may still be transferred to judiciary authorities, depending on the circumstances.

The second round of the central environmental inspection also covered six centrally administered State-owned enterprises, including China Minmetals Corporation and China National Building Materials Group Corporation.

The ministry said 336 officials from these central SOEs have also been punished, and 183 of them received Party and government disciplinary punishment.

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