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August 12, 2009

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Party action over illegal brick kilns

THE illegal sprawl of brick kilns along the mud flats of China's second largest waterway, Yellow River, has stirred up an administrative whirlwind in a central China county, leading to the removal or discipline of 22 officials.

Illegally built brick kilns pose serious flooding risks to land surrounding the river.

At the epicenter of Yuanyang County of Henan Province, Sun Guofu, the first in command who doubles as the secretary of Yuanyang County Committee of the Communist Party of China and a member of the standing committee of the CPC Xinxiang Municipal Committee, received a serious disciplinary warning.

This is the fourth worst disciplinary action taken by the CPC against members.

Sun's partner, Wei Liubao, was immediately removed from the post of deputy secretary of the CPC Yuanyang County Committee.

He may lose his concurrent post of Yuanyang County head as the Henan provincial government had proposed this removal to local legislators.

Another 20 officials of the county received Party penalties of various degrees, sources from the Henan provincial government said.

Two bosses of illegal kilns have been detained so far. Further investigations are being carried out by police and the Party's disciplinary inspection departments.

The presence of illegal brick kilns in Yuanyang County did not raise the awareness of the Henan provincial government until media reports exposed in late July that a flood-control project along the Yellow River had been suspended, putting 220,000 people in danger as the flood season came.

The project, situated in the mud flats of the Shuangjing Village, was supposed to be completed before this flood season and with a second protecting embankment.

Initial investigations showed that there were 129 brick kilns along the Yellow River mud flats of Yuanyang County, with only 30 having been licensed.

Of the 99 illegal ones, 49 have been dismantled as of Monday.

The Henan provincial government set August 15 as the deadline for the dismantling of all brick kilns jeopardizing flood control.

Brick kilns built upon farm lands must also be destroyed, the government ordered.


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