From Paul French in China (where this blog is blocked!):
Going back to all those columns and blog posts Ethical Corporation did around the recent spate of food safety scandals in China – remember fake infant formula and ‘swollen head’ syndrome and of course the Sanlu tainted milk scandal that involved New Zealand’s Fronterra, Sanlu’s joint venture partner who got a very easy ride in the name of protecting inward investment. Fronterra, it has to be said, were very lucky.
The new mood of the Chinese government towards foreigners thought to have transgressed the law is rather different on everything from the execution of UK citizen Akmal Shaikh to the jailing of Australian Stern Hu of the Rio Tinto 4.
Slightly later and some Fronterra execs might have found themselves called to account rather than hastily bundled out of the country.
But what of the Communist Party officials involved in recent scandals and supposedly punished. Turns out the punishments rarely last for long resulting in the phenomenon of the Sacked-Then-Back cadres.
An outcry on the Chinese internet about Sacked-Then-Back cadres started with the news that Meng Xuenong, a former Mayor of Beijing and Governor of Shanxi province who had been sacked twice since 2003 (once for mishandling and lying during the SARS crisis in Beijing and then once more for failing to organize adequate disaster relief during a mudslide in Shanxi).
However,now he has been appointed to a third senior position, as deputy of the works committee of the departments under the communist party’s central committee (long winded admittedly, but quite important all the same).
Here’s another Sacked-Then-Back official who’s made it into our pages before: Li Changjiang, former head of the general administration of quality supervision, inspection and quarantine – resigned over the melamine tainted milk scandal in 2008, now back as a deputy chairman on a working group supposedly cracking down on online pornography in China.
Sacked-Then-Back officials obviously make a mockery of the Party’s own disciplinary system, the Party’s supposed accountability and annoy people intensely.
Now the Party has introduced a new rule – no promotion for 2 years after being disgraced.
Most people see this as stupid – what’s a two year hiatus for a senior official anyway? does the Party really think that sends out the right message and, who really expects it to be implemented at a local level anyway. the same week Chinese media reported that two corrupt Party secretaries – in Shenzhen and Hainan – had both resumed their former posts after short prison sentences!