More than 100 Shenzhen government advisers have put their names to a proposal for a municipal public holiday to mark late leader Deng Xiaoping's radical economic reforms that began three decades ago. Zhang Shuguang, who came up with the idea, told the Shenzhen People's Political Consultative Conference before it closed yesterday that designating a public holiday as 'Reform Thanksgiving Day' would enable Shenzhen people to thank Deng for masterminding the creation of the special economic zone, which had enriched millions of lives. Mr Zhang suggested two possible dates for the reform holiday, either February 19 when Deng died or August 26 when the Shenzhen special economic zone was founded. 'Such a holiday will enable and encourage people to express their appreciation for the economic reform and urge them to carry on the spirit of the reform,' he said. 'Actually, the idea came to me when I saw thousands of Shenzhen people voluntarily go to remember Deng at Lotus Hill Park, where the country's only bronze statue of him was erected.' The proposal was warmly received by conference members, with 102 members including two deputy chairmen, signing the proposal. But not every member backed the suggestion. Yue Zheng, a dean from the Shenzhen Academy of Social Sciences, said the best way for people to express their gratitude was to continue economic and political reforms rather than engage in ceremonies. 'Being pragmatic and launching more creative reforms would be the best thing for Shenzhen to give back to the country, rather than a public holiday.' In the past year, Guangdong party chief Wang Yang has criticised the province, including Shenzhen, for losing its capacity and courage for reform, and he called for 'thought liberation', or free thinking, among officials. Some netizens were also unenthusiastic about the holiday idea and labelled the government advisers as 'toadies'. 'How can an authority set up a public holiday to commemorate their achievements? The government should be making the lives of its people better. People voluntarily remember Deng out of gratitude, but a statutory day for a reform anniversary would be too much,' a netizen wrote. There are a few public reminders of Deng in Shenzhen. Besides the bronze statue, his image can also be seen on a large roadside billboard in the city's busiest commercial district.