The leader of a small city in Jiangsu province has taken local officials to task for rude behaviour such as spitting and shouting over their mobile phones, and unwittingly sparked a flood of criticism against officialdom. Suqian city Communist Party Secretary Zhang Xinshi last month posted a brief essay on the internet that slammed officials for everything from loud throat clearing to neglecting to flush the toilet. 'Even worse is a mouthful of phlegm just spat onto the floor - that really shocks people,' he said. He said some officials, when meeting people, failed to keep a polite distance, while others talked loudly in public. Mr Zhang reserved special criticism for those who failed to flush: 'This creates a stinky odour and pollutes the air.' More than 2,000 people have left comments on the issue on the city's official website, many supporting him and attacking government officials as rude, bad-tempered slobs. 'Officials represent the image of a place. If they are bad-mannered, how can the government ask the public to maintain a courteous environment?' one posting asked. Mr Zhang also criticised schoolchildren for littering on public transport, but it was his comments about officials that struck a chord with the public. However, some people have accused him of self promotion, saying he only posted the essay to advance his career. 'Without the posting, who would have known about the leader of Suqian? This guy has managed to win nationwide fame,' one wrote. This week, the outspoken Mr Zhang was forced to answer some of the criticism, especially after a media interview in which he said government officials should do more to serve companies, angering many for appearing to turn his back on 'serving the people'. Mr Zhang said his comments came from a desire to attract more investment to Suqian, which lags behind more developed cities. Suqian is in the northern part of Jiangsu province.