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Unscathed by Scandals, Official Promoted

Feng Li—Getty Images
Meng Xuenong, the standing deputy secretary of the Work Committee of Departments under the Communist Party of China Central Committee, seen here while attending a meeting of the National People's Congress Beijing group in the Great Hall of the People on March 6, 2010 in Beijing. During his long career in politics, Meng has held the positions of Beijing mayor, deputy director of the South-North Water Transfer Project, governor of Shanxi province, and deputy secretary of CPC’s Work Committee of Departments, among other appointments.

(Beijing)—Although sacked once for the coverup of the 2003 SARS epidemic and a second time for blocking media coverage of the 2008 Shanxi mudslides, Meng Xuenong’s career has always bounced back.

According to the website of the China Youth Political College, Meng is now serving as the standing deputy secretary of the Work Committee of Departments under the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

The department is responsible for the management of party officials and grassroots organizations across the country.

While serving as mayor of Beijing during the SARS epidemic, Meng was dismissed from his party position by the central party commission for failing to properly handle the way information about the disease and its spread was reported to the public.

Five months later, though, Meng was transferred to a higher position as deputy director of the South-North Water Transfer Project. In his new job, Meng helped oversee the massive infrastructure project, which includes building pipes and canals to channel water from southern to northern China. He reported directly to the State Council.

Meng was later named governor of Shanxi province. But in 2008, he was sacked again after a central government investigation found local authorities had falsified death toll figures after a mudslide killed 254 people and obliterated a village in Xiangfen County.

The same year, Meng appeared at National People’s Congress meetings as a ministerial-level official. And in 2010, he was appointed deputy secretary of CPC’s Work Committee of Departments.

The party cadre appointment system and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, which manages the rotation of government officials, quietly transferred Meng as it has other disgraced high-level officials in the past. Often, these officials have resurfaced after a scandal cools in powerful positions.

Meng’s latest re-appointment was met with relatively little fanfare in the tightly controlled Chinese micro-blogging sphere. But one weibo user named Songhai Wubian managed to write, “Twice held accountable and then dismissed. It’s not so simple and there’s something amiss.”

Other weibo users said Meng’s decision to resign from previously held positions and the tone of his speeches in which he promoted building up the party reflected sufficient contrition over his past faults.

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Politics