China jails 7 officials for falsifying air quality data

  • Xi'an Intermediate People's Court found them guilty of damaging the computer information system

BEIJING – A Chinese court has sentenced seven people, including the heads of two environmental protection branches, to imprisonments of over one year for falsifying air quality monitoring data.

State-run Xinhua news agency reported that Xi’an Intermediate People’s Court in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province convicted the two of interfering in data collection of the automated air quality monitoring system and using cotton to fill the sampling instrument to lower the pollution data in February and March 2016.

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He Limin, then head of Chang’an District Branch of Xi’an Environmental Protection Bureau, and Tang Shixing, then head of Yanliang District Branch under the bureau, ordered staff from national monitoring stations in the two districts to falsify the data, said the court.

The court found them guilty of damaging the computer information system. The court sentenced He to one year and seven months and Tang to one year and five months.

Li Sen and Zhang Feng, then heads of the Chang’an and Yanliang monitoring stations respectively, were given imprisonments of one year and ten months, and one year and seven months, respectively. Three others were also sentenced.

Pollution kills 1.6 million in China every year

Air pollution is a priority of the Chinese government that has as a goal to reduce it up to 40 per cent in 2020.