The students kneeling on the steps of the Great Hall of the People back in the 1989 Tiananmen protests weren’t so lucky.
How times have changed! 21 years ago, when a couple of students decided to kneel on the steps of the Great Hall of the People with a petition to the government, nobody would give them the time of day. Well, we all know what happened subsequently. These days, if you’re a mayor and you have people kneeling outside your door, you’d better pay attention because not doing so could cost you your job, as Sun Ming, the mayor of Zhuanghe city, a city of 900,000 near Dalian, found out:
Dozens of villagers had traveled to the Zhuanghe city government in an attempt to meet higher-level authorities to ask for help dealing with local leaders they believed were embezzling public funds, taking bribes and neglecting their duties, news reports said.
“We waited a long time, but no officials came out from the government building to meet us, so we had to go down on our knees in front of the building,” said Sun Zhihong, a resident of Zhuanghe’s Longwangmiao village, according to the China Daily newspaper in a recent report. “But the mayor never came out to meet us.”
Leaders of Dalian, which oversees the administration of Zhuanghe, said in a statement following a meeting Saturday about the mass petition that officials “must attach great importance to the reasonable demands of the masses” and “respond with enthusiasm.”
According to China Daily, over 1,000 villagers were outside Zhuanghe’s city government building (click here for picture) on April 13. Chinese news reports say Sun Ming, the mayor was “asked to resign” (“被辞职”) over his “mismanagement” of the incident.