BEIJING, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- China's top environmental watchdog on Monday held talks with leading government officials from the city of Linfen in coal-rich Shanxi Province for lax environmental protection measures and worsening air quality.
The city was found by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment to have fabricated environmental monitoring data from April 2017 to March 2018 by interfering with the city's six monitoring stations nearly 100 times.
Sixteen people involved in fabricating data were convicted and sentenced to varying jail terms in May 2018.
"The case was an organized and premeditated crime, which had a negative influence on the public and was a profound lesson for us," said Liu Changgen, deputy director of the national environmental inspection office.
Earlier in January 2017, Linfen was criticized for failing to take adequate measures to tackle air pollution and deteriorating air quality.
The city did not follow through on agreed rectification plans, and the situation has become worrying. In the first half of 2018, Linfen was ranked last in air quality among 169 surveyed cities, according to the ministry.
In Monday's talks, Linfen was required to fundamentally resolve the issue of air pollution, learn lessons from its mistakes, and ensure the accuracy of environmental monitoring data.
During the talks, Liu Yuqiang, mayor of Linfen, pledged that the city would curb environmental degradation through improved environmental protection measures.