Tianjin's mayor rubbishes his reputation

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 February, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 February, 2005, 12:00am

Tianjin Mayor Dai Xianglong has lamented that he has yet to accomplish one simple but important task two years after taking office: cleaning up the city.

Mr Dai, who was governor of the People's Bank of China until December 2002, told city planners last Thursday he regretted that there had been no improvement in the city's hygiene standards since his arrival.

'Rubbish is dumped everywhere and hawkers ply their trade wherever they want,' Mr Dai was quoted as saying by the People's Daily. '[We must stress] that improving urban management is the natural responsibility of the government and the basic demand of the people.

'If a fire breaks out, will fire engines be able to come in [to the alleys]? The city looks ugly and the people are unhappy. I - as mayor - am responsible.'

Top mainland officials - under the leadership of President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao - have repeatedly emphasised the need for officials to put the people first. These calls have often prompted local leaders to publicly admit their mistakes.