China warns of crackdown on officials damaging environment

The Chinese authorities prosecuted almost 4,000 officials from 2004 to 2007 for cases of misconduct that caused damage to the environment or wasted energy resources, state media reported on Wednesday, adding that a renewed crackdown on government malpractice would begin in May.

Dereliction of duty by 3,822 officials cost the country billions of yuan in direct economic losses, Xinhua news agency cited Wang Zhenchuan, from the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, as saying.

He said crooked government officials were the reason why environment-related crimes continued to occur. "A few government officials misused their powers to grant unauthorised changes in land planning and expropriate farmland, forests, or grassland for other uses, causing severe loss of land resources," Wang was quoted as saying.

The report quoted Wang as saying prosecutors would start a new campaign from May 2008 to November 2009, which will crack down on
environmental damage caused by official dereliction of duty.

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