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Officer suspended over netizen's complaint about canteen

By Zhang Yu in Shijiazhuang | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-22 07:28

A county police chief has been suspended over his decision to punish a netizen who complained online about the quality of a hospital's food.

The netizen, identified only as Zhang, was told last week by police in Shexian county, Hebei province, that he would be detained for his comments on WeChat and other social media in June about the canteen at Shexian Hospital.

Zhang had complained that prices were too high, citing a bowl of noodles that cost 14 yuan ($2) and no meat in a rice combination meal.

The posts went viral online and led to heated discussion. Police began to investigate after receiving a complaint that Zhang's comments had a negative impact on the hospital's image.

Last week, the police announced the penalty, saying Zhang had spread rumors and disturbed public order. The announcement sparked an outcry among netizens.

The authorities said Zhang was not actually detained, citing an unspecified health condition.

On Sunday, the public security bureau in Handan, the city that administers Shexian, said it found that Zhang's comments were unfounded, but the punishment was not in line with law.

In a post on social media, the bureau said Zhang had been drinking when he made the comments and was upset that he had lost his job as a manager at the canteen before the hospital was relocated.

The head of the Shexian police station has been suspended, and several other police officers involved in the case have been transferred to other posts, the authority said. Zhang was exonerated and has received an apology, it added.

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