Officials punished over children's deaths in southwest China

Updated: 2015-06-12 20:06


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Officials punished over children's deaths in southwest China

Boarders have a PE class at the primary school of Shicheng Township of Pingshun County, north China's Shanxi province, May 26, 2015. The children in the school are mostly left behind children whose parents work outside of their hometown. [Photo/Xinhua]

GUIYANG - Several officials in southwest China's Guizhou Province have been sacked or suspended, following the tragic deaths of four siblings in an apparent mass suicide.

Nie Zongxian, Party secretary of the Tiankan Township of Qixingguan District in Bijie City, and Chen Mingfu, township head, have both been dismissed.

Yang Qian, deputy head of the district government, has been suspended, Party committees of Bijie and Qixingguan announced. Also suspended were Ye Rong, head of the district's education bureau, and Xue Tingmeng, an official of the Tiankan Township.

The deaths have triggered widespread sympathy and anger. Stiff penalties have been promised for anyone else found to be in any way responsible for the incident.

The four brothers and sisters, aged between 5 and 13, died in hospital after swallowing pesticide Tuesday at home in Tiankan's Cizhu Village, a police investigation confirmed.

Their mother, Ren Xifen, left home in March 2014 after a long and bitter dispute with her husband Zhang Fangqi who left the village in March this year.

Local authorities have gotten in touch with Ren and she will return home soon, while Zhang remains out of contact. But local authorities have learned of his possible whereabouts and have sent a working team to look for him.