A government official in east China's Jiangsu Province was fired for his irresponsible remark about the real estate market and his lavish lifestyle that had caused uproar among Internet users.
Zhou Jiugeng, 48, was the former director of the real estate management bureau in Jiangning District, in the provincial capital Nanjing. He was removed from the post on suspicion of embezzling public funds to pursue a luxurious personal lifestyle, said a source from the district people's congress.
Zhou has been under fire since he told the media on Dec. 10 that real estate developers should be punished for selling apartments below cost.
The remark sparked heated debate among the public as they had been complaining about soaring house prices.
Internet users uploaded pictures showing his luxurious lifestyle last week.
In those photos, Zhou wore a Vacheron Constantin watch, which costs at least 100,000 yuan (14,600 U.S. dollars) in China. There was also a pack of Nanjing 95 Imperial cigarettes sitting in frontof him. The cigarettes cost about 150 yuan per pack. Zhou was also found to be driving a Cadillac to work.
The district government said no real estate developer had been punished and the municipal commission for discipline inspection has been probing Zhou's alleged corruption.