断崖式降级 (duanyashi jiangji): Free-fall demotion
Yan Shiyuan, a former member of the Shandong provincial Party committee, has been demoted from the rank of vice-minister to deputy head of a department for violating Party discipline. Yan is not the only senior government official demoted for violating the Party's regulations. Last July, a former member of the Jiangxi provincial Party committee Zhao Zhiyong was demoted to the rank of office clerk for taking advantage of his position to seek personal interests. A former member of the Yunnan provincial Party committee Zhang Tianxin has also been demoted from the rank of vice-minister to deputy head of a department because of nonfeasance that resulted in the loss of State assets. This kind of punishment has been dubbed a "free-fall demotion" by the media.
Demotion due to violation of the Party's rules is a new move in the anti-corruption campaign. If the officials violate the Party's discipline but don't violate the law and they confess to the discipline inspection authorities, they may be demoted within the authorities while staying free from criminal punishment by the law. Demotion is expected to be a constant measure to deal with problematic officials.