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China Sanctions Local Leaders for Ignoring Macro Policies

Yang Jing, chairman of north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and his two deputies, Yue Fuhong and Zhao Shuanglian, have been ordered to write a letter of self-criticism each to the State Council for failing to stop billions of yuan of investment being poured into unauthorized power stations.

The decision was made Wednesday at a meeting of the State Council chaired by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

The trio are the first group of senior local leaders to be sanctioned by the central government for ignoring its macro-control policies aimed at preventing the economy from overheating.

The meeting accused the Inner Mongolian regional government of being weak in enforcing the central government's policies concerning macro-control and the reform of the electricity generating and supply system.

It was revealed that unauthorized power stations being built in Inner Mongolia have a combined capacity of 8.6 million kilowatts.

The meeting ordered for an immediate stop to all these projects.

The Inner Mongolia regional government has come under particularly strong fire for the Xinfeng Power Station, which will have two generating units each with a capacity of 300,000 kilowatts and be built at a cost of 2.89 billion yuan, or 366 million U.S. dollars.

According to an investigation by the National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Supervision, the project was started in April 2004 without following standard procedures in project approval, land acquisition and tendering.

The probe reveals that the regional and local authorities failed to stop the project from going ahead even after it was labeled illegal by the central authorities.

To worsen matters, the building which houses the turbine generators collapsed while being built in July 2005, killing six people and injuring eight others.

The investigators blamed an unreasonably tight deadline and failure to observe construction standards for the accident.

The State Council urged all departments and local governments to take a lesson from the Inner Mongolia example and closely follow the central government's macro-control policies, or face serious consequences.

(Xinhua News Agency August 17, 2006)

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