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3. China punishes 59 local officials for negligence

China's state-run TV reports that the central government has punished more than 50 local officials for negligence in their duty, such as delaying housing starts for low-income earners.

China's Central Television reported in its main evening news on Thursday that the central government conducted an intensive inspection of local governments in May and June.

It says 59 local officials at 7 provinces were punished for negligence, citing the case of a vice mayor who failed to launch construction of 11,000 flats for low-income earners ordered by the state.

The TV reports that a leader from the inspection group pointed out that some officials preferred not to work rather than causing troubles, and that such an attitude affected local development significantly.

The state-run television also cited a local official from one of the 7 provinces as saying that they will proceed with important projects with urgency to achieve stable growth, learning from the lessons of the inspection.

Some say the strict anti-corruption campaign conducted under President Xi Jinping's leadership is increasingly scaring local officials, leading to a negative attitude toward costly projects. They say that's one of the causes of the economic slowdown.

NHK's correspondent reports that the punishment of local officials apparently reflects the top leadership's concern over the negative attitude that appears to be affecting the economy.
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