Mayor fired for ignoring hundreds of kneeling petitioners
Mimi Lau in Guangzhou
The mayor of a city in the northeastern province of Liaoning lost his job for ignoring hundreds of petitioners who got down on their knees to seek fair compensation over a government land grab.
At a city government meeting on Saturday, Sun Ming was ordered to resign from his posts as Zhuanghe's mayor and its Communist Party deputy chief under the official accountability system, Xinhua reported yesterday. Zhuanghe is a city of about 900,000 people under Dalian .
It is rare that principal officials are held accountable for mishandling petitioners. The only similar case was last December when Shi Guozhong , party chief of Niuquanzigou county, Hebei, was fired after a Net posting revealed he told an elderly petitioner to jump off a roof.
The accountability system has been under fire for its ineffective enforcement. Its credibility was in doubt after a large number of disgraced officials were sacked but then quietly restored to new positions.
Sun's sacking came after more than 1,000 petitioners demanded to meet the mayor over land compensation and corruption. Many had even got down on their knees for more than 30 minutes, but Sun refused to meet them, Xinhua said. Sun was later penalised for the negative impact caused by his mishandling of the petitioners.
The Xiaoxiang Morning Post in Hunan quoted petitioner Sun Zhihong as saying the complaints were about embezzlement, corruption and negligence of officials on the local land reclamation project in the Longwang Temple village area in Lushunkou district.
'More than 1,000 of us arrived at the city government headquarters to talk about official corruption problems in our village,' Sun said. 'We waited for a long time, but no leaders received us. There was nothing we could do but kneel down in front of the city government, but even then, the city's mayor did not step out of his office to address us.'
The People's Daily reported that an official said during Saturday's meeting that the seriousness of the incident would be a lesson for officials handling petitioners. The Dalian government was very concerned after the incident was revealed and told officials to process the petitions. As of Wednesday, at least half of the residents had agreed to compensation for the requisitioned land.