BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese officials need to remain on call 24 hours a day and must not turn off their mobile phones, a newspaper run by the Communist Party said on Saturday.
China Discipline and Inspection News, which is run by the Party's corruption watchdog, said in an editorial that Zhao Aiguo, the head of a county-level construction bureau in Shaanxi province, had recently been reprimanded after switching off his phone and remaining out of contact for what it described as "a long time".
"A large number of regions clearly stipulate that the mobile phones of government officials should be switched on 24 hours a day," the editorial said.
"Netizens say that in private firms, if a mobile phone is switched off for a month or if there is no way of contacting, there is the risk of dismissal," it said. "Why cannot we have tougher rules towards public officials?"
The paper also recommended that officials carry spare phones or recharging packs to make sure they remain on call.
Since the appointment of President Xi Jinping in 2013, China has fought a far-reaching campaign aimed at rooting out corruption and extravagance among officials and restoring public faith in the ruling Communist Party.
It has also urged local-level officials to work harder to implement central government directives, with Premier Li Keqiang telling a cabinet meeting last year that laziness was also a form of corruption.
"In the end, cadres cannot lose contact, but even more, they cannot lose their sense of responsibility," the editorial said.
(Reporting by David Stanway and Shu Zhang; Editing by Stephen Coates)