Planet China

No free ride

Accidents and natural catastrophes can soon turn into political disasters too. As WiC has reported in the past, inept responses from local officials to emergencies have led to the undoing of many public servants. Yang Dacai, for one, was sentenced to 14 years in jail (for corruption) after netizens saw photos of the Shaanxi bureaucrat wearing timepieces well beyond his paygrade.

Why was Yang targeted? It all began with a photo on Sina Weibo that showed him grinning during his inspection of a bus crash scene.

Wang Junhua, an official from Jiangxi, has become the latest victim of netizen wrath. Presumably he intended to score a few political points by visiting a flood-hit area in which two students were reported missing. But what went viral was a photo of Wang getting a piggyback across a flooded path, seemingly to avoid getting his own shoes muddy. Responding to public annoyance, Xinhua reported that a low-ranking clerk had volunteered to carry him. But Wang was still sacked after it was ruled that his “inappropriate act had a negative social impact and had tarnished the Party’s image”. Incredibly Wang isn’t the first to fall foul from soliciting a piggyback. Last October an official in Zhejiang was also removed from his post after jumping on the back of a 60 year-old villager whose home was flooded.­­

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