Bao Xuwei (R2), an education bureau official of Taishun county of east China's Zhejiang province, is carried by two insurance company employees while walking through a muddy puddle during the Typhon Meranti disaster relief in the county on Friday, Sept 16, 2016. (Photo/Wenzhou Metropolis Daily)
A Zhejiang province official was dismissed due to online accusations around a photo, Wenzhou Metropolis Daily reported.
The photo shows the official being carried by two insurance company employees while walking through a muddy puddle during the Typhon Meranti disaster relief in Taishun county of East China's Zhejiang province on Friday. After being recognized as Bao Xuwei, a county education bureau official, the photo was widely republished and shared online. In no time, netizens began to question why he used the insurance company employees to avoid the puddle and accused him of abusing his power.
From the public outrage over the photo, the bureau announced on Friday they were conducting an investigation into the matter and had dismissed Bao immediately from office.
Bao claims he was wrongly accused. Directly after a meeting he visited the disaster affected area and was not wearing water-proof shoes. After he attempted to cross the puddle, the two insurance company employees came to help him. It was only a few seconds, he said.
The two insurance company employees also confirmed they were just helping Bao cross over, and Bao was just one of others they helped.
Hu Liming, who took the photo, said he saw the insurance company employees helping people wanting to cross the muddy road. He wanted to show people helping each other during the disaster. He did not expect his photo to cause such a misunderstanding. Hu apologized for the accusations that followed the photo.
In the last few years, a number of officials have been found guilty of bribery and dismissed from photos posted online. In 2012, Yang Dacai, the incumbent head of Shaanxi Province work safety administration, was photographed grinning at scene of a grim bus crash. After seeing the photo, netizens accused and searched for vilifying evidence of Yang. Photos appeared online of Yang wearing luxury wristwatches, items he could not possibly afford on a public servant's salary. He was dismissed from his position on corruption charges and sentenced to 14 years in prison.