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China Punishes 31 Officials, Fires 12 Others for Quake Relief

Chinese authorities say they have punished 31 officials and fired 12 others because of their poor handling of relief supplies and response to the country's massive earthquake last month.

China's top anti-corruption official, Ma Wen, told reporters Monday that most of the demerits and firings were a response to complaints about misuse of tents and improper distribution of food and other goods.

China's May 12 quake killed nearly 70,000 people and left millions homeless. The government has previously warned that it would come down hard on those who misused aid funds or relief supplies.

Corruption is rampant across China, and there is concern about the use and destination of donations.

During Monday's briefing for correspondents in Beijing, a top finance official reminded government departments to cut spending by five percent this year to help with the quake relief effort.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.