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Official loses post for his sound bite

[ 2011-08-11 10:45]     字号 [] [] []  
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A government official in East China's Fujian province has been suspended from his post because he chastised a reporter over the phone, local authorities said.

A telephone recording that includes the sentence 'A bureau chief's phone number should not be called by the public' was proved to be reproducing words spoken by Chen Guiguang, the Changle city environmental protection bureau director, and Chen was suspended from his post," said a statement on the website of Changle city government on Tuesday.

A local TV reporter called Chen Guiguang in late July, trying to ask him about a settlement in a pollution case that had occurred in the city. The reporter's request for an interview was rejected.

"You shouldn't be calling my number," Chen said to the reporter, according to video footage posted on a micro blog by the TV station on Aug 4.

"If everybody could call me whenever they wanted, wouldn't that mean a bureau chief is worth nothing?

"My number shouldn't be called by ordinary people. Why should my phone be reachable by people in the public like you?"

Chen's words quickly drew much attention.

A netizen said a civil servant's duty is to serve the public and that Chen's ugly but "honest" words might mean that it is time for officials like Chen to take some "medicine".

In contrast to Chen, Chinese officials in many places have tried to make their phone numbers available and have welcomed both suggestions and complaints.

In 2008, Kunming city, in Yunnan province, had local newspapers publish the office numbers of the mayor and of bureau chiefs at the city, district and county levels. Local residents hailed the decision and experts later said it helped to open a channel for communication between officials and the public.

Other cities in the country, Chengde and Shaoxing among them, followed suit. In March of this year, Shanxi province made public the mobile-phone numbers and e-mail addresses of 260 secretaries and directors of the Party's local commissions for discipline inspection and organization departments.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Official loses post for his sound bite

About the broadcaster:

Official loses post for his sound bite

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.