Page last updated at 09:04 GMT, Monday, 26 April 2010 10:04 UK

China mayor dismissed for ignoring corruption protests


A city mayor in north-eastern China has been sacked for mishandling a protest about corruption among local officials, state media says.

Sun Ming was accused of ignoring hundreds of people who staged a "kneel down" protest in front of the city hall in Zhuanghe, Liaoning province.

The Chinese government has repeatedly promised to address corruption problems.

But many people complain that local officials ignore their grievances.

Mr Sun's resignation - on the orders of the authorities in Dalian city, which oversees Zhuanghe's administration - followed harsh criticism online and in the Chinese media over his handling of the protests.

Hundreds of Zhuanghe residents had gathered outside the city hall on 13 April in the hope of meeting senior officials to discuss their grievances, following the ancient Chinese tradition of petitioning the authorities in person.

They wanted help dealing with local officials they accused of embezzling public money, taking bribes and neglecting their duties, the Shanghai Daily reported.

"We waited a long time, but no officials came out from the government building to meet us," protester Sun Zhihong was quoted as saying by the China Daily newspaper.

"So we had to go down on our knees in front of the building, but the mayor never came out to meet us."

The protests attracted widespread publicity and Mr Sun was held to be responsible for their "bad effect" on the public, the Shanghai Daily said.

In a statement, the Dalian authorities said officials should "respond with enthusiasm" to public protests and "must attach great importance to the reasonable demands of the masses", the paper reported.

The authorities in Beijing have tried to tackle the problem, launching a crackdown on corruption among local officials and introducing new codes of ethics for local government.

But corruption is consistently cited as the main concern for Chinese people and many people complain that despite these efforts, their complaints are dismissed.

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