GUIYANG, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Eight people, ranging from school principals to government officials, have been penalized over the deaths last week of five street children in a dumpster in southwest China's Guizhou Province, local authorities said on Tuesday.
The penalties included sackings and suspension of duty, according to a decision made by city authorities in Bijie City on Monday night.
The five children, all boys, were identified as natives of the city's outer Qixingguan District. They were: Tao Zhongjing, 12, Tao Zhonghong, 11, Tao Zhonglin, 13, Tao Chong, 12 and Tao Bo, 9.
The boys were from the same extended family and their fathers were three brothers, the city government said in a press release given to Xinhua on Tuesday morning.
Family members and teachers had been searching for the children, who went missing three weeks ago, when their bodies were found, by a trash collector in a dumpster last Friday, said Tao Jinyou, father of Tao Zhonglin.
He said the child quit school two years ago and had been herding cattle at home.
In fact, four of the five kids were drop-outs and the other also cut school often.
Despite their teachers' attempts at persuasion, the kids refused to return to school, saying they were getting poor grades and disliked learning, said Tao Yuanwu, father of two of the boys: Tao Chong and Tao Bo.
Tao Yuanwu, a migrant worker in the southern boom city Shenzhen, arrived home only on Monday to identify the bodies.
Police said the boys died from carbon monoxide poisoning, as remains of burnt charcoal found inside the dumpster indicated they might have burnt charcoal for warmth before they died.
Their tragic deaths spurred an outburst of grief from the public, who blamed the children's caregivers and local government for failing to take care of the young lives.
Two local government officials, who were in charge of education and civil affairs respectively in Qixingguan District, were sacked for failing to fulfill their obligations.
The sacked individuals also included two officials in Xinghaizijie Township, the children's hometown, and two local school principals for failing to get the children back to school.
Two deputy heads of Qixingguan District were suspended from duty pending investigation.