Friday, December 26, 2008

Six China officials sacked for dozing at meeting

Source: Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - A local government in southern China has sacked six officials who were photographed dozing during a meeting and whose images were published online, Chinese media said Friday.

The six, some company managers and some Communist Party chiefs for various government branches, were attending a meeting in Hengyang city in Hunan province marking 30 years of economic reforms, the Beijing News said.

"They (the sackings) are intended to strictly enforce discipline and clear up the bad impact this had on society," the newspaper said, citing the decision made by the city government.

While the report did not say who took the pictures and posted them on the Internet, the incident has generated heated discussion online, with many saying the dismissals were unfair as it was not the officials' fault the meeting was boring.

"In 99 percent of those kinds of meetings the words are empty and stereotypical," one poster named Damocangying 2007 wrote on popular portal

"If the audience falls asleep when you're making a speech, then your speech is to blame," another person called Cmbbs said.

Government meetings in China are often long full of long-winded speeches, though senior officials have tried to push for shorter and more efficient ones.

The six were not the first to be captured and ousted after their improper behaviour was captured on film.

An official in the booming southern city of Shenzhen was fired last month after photos and video clips of his drunken behaviour appeared online.

Sleeping during a speech can be seen as an insult and people who fall asleep are disrespecting the speaker, who is always some top-ranking official.

Have you ever fallen asleep in a meeting or at your desk? Would you be fired?

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