December 02, 2005

China senior official resigns over Harbin toxic spillage

China's chief environment official, Xie Zhenhuahas, the director-general of the State Environment Protection Administration (SEPA), has resigned in the wake of sharp public criticism of the handling of a toxic spill into the Songhua river, which supplies water to millions of farmers and city dwellers, including Harbin, in north-east China.

The resignation was announced tonight in a statement through the official Xinhua news agency. Mr Xie has been forced out and is to take responsibility for the damage caused by the spill into the Songhua river, near Harbin, and SEPA?s mishandling of its aftermath, according to the statement.

Comment: Central government is taking strong measures to show that action is being taken in an effort to maintain trust.

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