`Official apathy claims over 600 lives in Chinese province`

The revelation involving large casualties due to official apathy was rare.

Beijing: In a rare disclosure, Chinese prosecutors have said more than 600 people were killed over a period of seven years due to official apathy in a southwest province, the state-run media reported on Saturday.

Inappropriate behaviour by officials led to death of at least 622 people and serious injuries in a number of incidents from 2004 to 2010, said People`s Procuratorate of Yunnan Province, according to official Xinhua news agency.

Official misconduct during the seven year period also resulted in more than CNY 843 million (USD 127 million) in economic losses, it said.

The revelation involving large casualties due to official apathy was rare as bureaucracy and the ruling Communist Party of China keep a tight control on the state apparatus keeping a tight leash on the information.

Officials of the Procuratorate investigated at least 304 cases of dereliction of duty in 2010 alone in which 332 were officials involved.

Among the convicted officials was Ao Chengbi, former director of a county-level coal mine bureau in Qujing City. He reportedly approved the operation of a substandard coal mine which was rocked by a gas explosion in November 2006 killing 32 miners and injuring 35 others.

Another case displayed at the exhibition was the infamous "hide-and-seek" case, 24-year-old inmate Li Qiaoming had died at a detention centre while "playing the game" in February 2009.

However, a public outcry forced the government to launch an investigation, which concluded Li was beaten to death by three other inmates.

The exhibition also highlighted the case of 12 Yuxi city officials, including a vice Mayor, who were fired for failing to properly monitor a chemical company`s waste discharge.

The firm polluted a lake with arsenic which resulted in a suspension of drinking water supply to 26,000 people in 2008. The exhibition opened Friday and is expected to run till late January.


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