Zhang Renliang (张仁良), the former Jing’an district chief who was sacked last year in the wake of the devastating 2010 fire that ravaged an apartment building, killing 58 and injuring 71, has been given a political resurrection with his new appointment as deputy party secretary of Xinjiang’s Kashgar prefecture. Zhang’s new job comes just seven months after he was sacked from Jingan district, along with dozens of other officials that were either replaced, punished or jailed.
The appointment did not go unnoticed by netizens on Sina Weibo, China’s largest microblogging platform. A post by Sina’s @breakingnews account on the appointment was retweeted over 2,000 times in just five hours. Zhang’s speedy political rehabilitation reinforces the deeply-held perception that sacked government officials are simply put through a game of musical chairs and that they never remain jobless for too long.
More than a year after the deadly fire, family members of the victims are still in a battle to push the government for more transparency in its handling of the matter. Many say they have not received the full sum of compensation that was promised them and that much of the donations from the general public have remained unaccounted for.