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Officials lose jobs after forcing lottery sale

NEIBORHOOD officials in southwest China's Sichuan Province have been fired or suspended from work after forcing low-income residents to buy welfare lottery tickets although they were on government living allowances.

Wang Surong, dean of the Wencheng Neighborhood Committee of Sichuan's Suining City, was removed from her position and other officials involved were fired, the Xinhua news agency reported today.

The local government launched an investigation after receiving complaints from local residents about the lottery sale, Xinhua said.

Eighty-year-old Wu Yuhua told Xinhua she was forced to buy a 10-yuan (US$1.46) ticket while she was claiming her 185-yuan living allowance from the committee early this month.

"Last month they had asked me to buy a ticket and I refused," Wu said. "But this time they said I would not be allowed to take my living allowance if I didn't buy the ticket."

"Anyway, I was lucky enough to win a 20-yuan prize from the ticket," she said.

Another unnamed resident also said he was forced to pay 10 percent of his 275-yuan living allowance to buy the tickets.

"The 10 percent income, though small to many people, is a large sum for me because it will cover food for my family for a couple of days," he said.

Local civil affairs officials attributed the forced sales to misunderstanding about targets set for the city's lottery sales each year.


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