China’s top-down system frequently punishes local officials for high-profile disasters and other perceived failures.
Under Chinese leader Xi Jinping, local governments have faced increasing pressure to implement party policy, resulting in occasional attempts to conceal problems.
Negli ultimi mesi, hundreds of local officials have been fired or punished for failing to contain outbreaks of Covid-19.
According to the Henan floods report
, a total of
89 civil servants were punished
, including the mayor of Zhengzhou and three deputy mayors
. Xu Liyi, the Zhengzhou Party Secretary and the city’s top official
, was removed from his position and given
“a serious warning within the party.
Police detained and will pursue criminal charges against eight other people.
The Zhengzhou investigation also found authorities did not have sufficient disaster preparation in place, e “seriously lacked risk awareness regarding extreme-weather disasters,” Xinhua ha riferito.
Once the disaster hit, authorities mishandled the emergency response and moved too slowly, hampered by unnecessary bureaucracy and “formalities for formalities’ sake.”
The scale of the disaster also highlighted major issues with Zhengzhou’s infrastructure and urban planning that had been overlooked during the city’s rapid development, the report found. Per esempio, it has only 2,400 chilometri (1,491 miglia) of storm sewer pipelines — about half that of similar sized cities.
The report pointed to two deadly events that went viral on social media and drew widespread horror: the flooding of a subway station, with some passengers trapped in train cars for hours up to their necks in water, and the flooding of an underground tunnel where travelers were trapped in their cars.
These incidents were preventable “casualties that shouldn’t have happened,” exacerbated by authorities’ delayed response, the investigation committee said.
The flooding also hit smaller cities and villages, with rivers swelling beyond warning levels and numerous reservoirs overflowing. In totale, quasi 14.8 million people across the province were affected by the disaster, the report found.