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Posted by Eric Mu on Monday, December 29, 2008 at 10:18 AM
Zhou Jiugeng, the government official who recently became notorious on the Internet for his expensive cigarettes, has been fired.
Zhou was the director of the real estate bureau of Nanjing's Jiangning District. He was dismissed for "expressing inappropriate opinions to the media without authorization, which caused negative social effects" and for "purchasing high priced cigarettes using public funds."
Zhou's "inappropriate opinion" refers to his saying in an interview that developers would be inspected and banned from selling properties below cost. This opinion was interpreted as attempt to justify current property prices which many people feel are still too high.
An ensuing "human flesh search" found a photo showing Zhou at his desk with a pack of cigarettes which cost 1,500 yuan per carton. In the photo, he was wearing a watch believed to be an expensive Vacheron Constantin. Netizens also found that Zhou's brother himself is a real estate developer.
In other job-related news, Fan Meizhong, a former teacher who became a celebrity for running for his own life instead of helping his students when the Sichuan earthquake struck on May 12, was recently reported to have been offered a job by Beijing Kaihua Training School.
Fan's actions brought a flood of criticism and resulted in a public debate over the role of teachers as role models and protectors of the students in their charge. Many people saw his new job as a crass attempt by the Kaihua Training School to use Fan's notoriety to gain publicity for themselves.
Today's Beijing News reports that the school has announced that his hiring would be postponed indefinitely.
Ran Dongzheng, president of Kaihua, explained that the school had underestimated the consequences of the controversy over Fan.
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