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Warnings for officials involved in improper arrest of school principal

Chinese Business View
October 28, 2008

Seven government officials in Suide County, Shaanxi Province, including a mayor and a local police chief, have received official warnings for their role in last year's improper arrest of a school principal, today's Chinese Business View reports.

In December, 2007, Gao Yong, the principal of a vocational high school, went to the county government with a document concerning government aid for needy students that he needed the county mayor to sign. Mayor Cui Bo was in a rush to attend a meeting, and told Gao to leave the document in his office for him to sign. The principal insisted that Cui needed to sign it right away, and attempted to stop the car by holding on to the door. Gao was later removed from the car by security guards and a local Education Department director who happened to be present.

Later that day, Gao went apologize to Cui, accompanied by people from the Education Department. He was quoted as saying, "You have visited our school twice and have brought flowers for disabled students and moon cakes for the poor. This misunderstanding shouldn't have happened between us. It was my fault, my big brother passed away, I was in a hurry to attend his funeral, and I wanted the students to get the money quickly."

Although Cui said he accepted Gao's apology, the local education department held a meeting in which it was decided to suspend Cui from his job. Meanwhile, the local Public Safety Bureau determined that Gao's behavior violated the law for "disturbing government order" and ordered him jailed for seven days. Gao was arrested and left the police station after paying 1,400 yuan the same day.

After the news broke to the media, the mayor visited Gao on January 4, 2008 and apologized to him. Gao was also given back his job and returned the money he had paid to the police.

Cui's explanation was that the document Gao brought to him was not complete. "According to the legal procedure, without being audited by Finance Department, I could not sign on it. I told him to leave the document on my table, and so I would sign it after my meeting, and even promised to call the Finance Department to give him the money without my signature. He just wouldn't listen. The fact is that Finance Department gave the money the very same day."

Cui Bo was issued a warning for not preventing Gao's arrest once he learned of it. His chief of staff was given a warning for issuing an arrest order to the police department without going through proper government channels. The head of the county education department was given a warning for mishandling the request for Gao's termination. And two police officers received party demerits and two others were given warnings for their role in the arrest.

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