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Accident Cover-Up Officials to Warrant Aggravated Penalties

Posted Jan 09 2013 6:37am

China's newly introduced legal interpretation on handling dereliction of duty cases has highlighted that officials involved in covering up accidents should be handed aggravated penalties.burberry outletAccording to a statement issued on Tuesday by the Supreme People's Court (SPC),burberry outletthe legal interpretation has for the first time specified criteria in convicting criminal offenses of power abuse and dereliction of duty.burberry outlet onlineIt explains what kind of scenarios will be considered as "resulting in grave damages to public assets, interests of the state and the people." These scenarios include accidents involving a fatality or fatalities, three or more serious injuries, or nine or more minor injuries; incidents involving more than 300,000 Yuan (48,210 U.S. dollars) of economic losses; incidents exerting baleful social influences.

The legal interpretation stresses that if officials are involved in cover-ups or delayed reports of accidents, or coerce others to cover up, and the damages fail to be curbed as a result of cover-ups, they will be handed aggravated penalties. In a recent case, a subsidiary of the China Railway Tunnel Group purposefully concealed a fatal railway tunnel explosion that occurred on Dec. 25 in north China's Shanxi Province. Eight people were killed and five were injured in the explosion in a railway tunnel that was under construction. The legal interpretation also makes sure that collective decision-making no longer serves as excuses to exonerate responsible officials. It also aims to reverse a trend under which those who execute the decision are made a scapegoat while the higher-ranking decision-makers are left unpunished.

Instead, it says, all responsible officials will be held legally accountable, while those who execute the decisions shoulder minor responsibilities. In addition, the interpretation also adopts a heavy-handed approach toward cases involving regulation of food and drugs, because of their immediate impact on the public. Management and supervision personnel in state organs will face fierce punishment, it says, if fake and poisonous medicines and food that falls short of standards slip into the market because of their carelessness and abuses of power. The SPC statement says the legal interpretation will aggregate severity of judicial punishments in such cases and spurs on officials to administer prudently. From Jan. to Nov. 2012, Chinese courts handled 4,928 cases of power abuse and dereliction of duty, convicting 4,426 officials, according to the SPC.

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