Officials in Bijie, Guizhou Province, have responded to widespread uproar over the placement of signs on dumpsters in the city reading ‘humans and animals prohibited’ apparently in response to the deaths of five young homeless boys in November.
Gao Dan, head of Heguantun Township, Qixingguan District, on Thursday used his personal Tencent microblog to issue a public apology for the 12 dumpsters painted with the warnings.
“I understand that the inappropriate warnings on the dumpsters hurt the public’s feelings. I sincerely apologize for that,” Gao wrote.
Hu Shulong, deputy chief of the Qixingguan district, admitted that the warnings reflected the township government’s lack of a sense of responsibility.
On Friday, the warning had been painted over with the characters for “Garbage comes in, healthy and civilized.”
“Stray children would not have entered dumpsters if they had other nice shelters to hide out, and animals can’t read the warning signs. So what’s the purpose of painting the warning?” was the message of many of the Internet comments.
After the tragedy, Qixingguan District, which is home to hundreds of such “left-behind children,” has set up aid stations and launched 24-hour patrols along major roads to look for stray kids and bring them to shelters.
Chen Changxu, mayor of Bijie, said the city government will budget 60 million yuan (9.62 million U.S. dollars) annually to attend to the city’s “left-behind children.”