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Beijing mayor set for promotion amid flood scandal

Associated Press Modified: July 25, 2012 at 8:15 am •  Published: July 25, 2012
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BEIJING (AP) — Beijing's mayor is apparently still on track to be promoted to China's powerful decision-making body despite public questioning of the city government's handling of floods that left at least 37 dead.

Mayor Guo Jinlong and one of his vice mayors resigned, state media reported Wednesday, in what is likely a routine reshuffling. The announcement came as more rain was forecast to hit Beijing and amid signs that the death toll from last weekend's storms could jump higher.

Saturday's massive flooding was a major embarrassment for China's capital, which spent billions of dollars modernizing the city while apparently neglecting its drainage systems.

State media, analysts and China's online community have piled on criticism of the city's handling of the crisis and its lack of preparedness.

Saturday's heavy rain was unusual in normally dry Beijing. On Wednesday evening, more heavy rain fell on the capital as forecast by the Beijing Meteorological Bureau, which warned of possible flash flooding and mudslides in the capital's mountainous outskirts, including already hard-hit Fangshan.

Beijing traffic police issued a notice on its website advising residents to avoid traveling far and to try to use public transport as much as possible, to reduce congestion. The Beijing water authority posted on its microblog a map of the city with flood-prone areas marked out and suggested traffic routes to avoid them.

Concerned about the potential havoc that might be caused by the heavy rain, some people left work earlier than usual. There were no immediate reports of flooding.

Outgoing Mayor Guo had already been tapped for a promotion to the city's top position as Communist Party secretary, so his resignation was not unexpected.

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