A Different Kind Of Protest: Shanxi Residents Plea For Mayor To Stay

Geng Yanbo, mayor of Datong in northern Shanxi province, was ordered to step down on Friday and accept his new position as vice mayor, for mysterious reasons. Residents haven’t exactly embraced the decision, reports SCMP. “While it is not unusual to see villagers in China sometimes kneeling to petition for their rights or to seek justice from senior officials, Datong residents have gone down on their knees to plea for a popular mayor to remain in office.”

They’ve even taken to the streets, as the video shows.

[Posters and signs read] “Please stay, Mayor Geng,” and “Datong needs you.” Some residents claim they have gathered as many as 10,000 signatures on one of their banners.

Dozens of residents then knelt and chanted: “Mayor Geng, please come back, Datong is your home.”

Officials reportedly wept at his farewell party.

Geng, who has an MBA diploma, was known for his strong leadership, efficiency, and charisma, according to chinanews.com. Over Geng’s five-year-term, he carried out a series of urban re-developments. These included building roads, planting trees and restoring ancient cities. This was part of a strategy to promote tourism and end the region’s heavy reliance on coal.

Geng also improved the city’s air pollution dramatically. We wonder what he possibly could have done to deserve his demotion, then. Stay tuned.

2 Responses to “A Different Kind Of Protest: Shanxi Residents Plea For Mayor To Stay”

  1. Jess

    Does it really count as a demotion? He’s going from mayor in Datong to vice mayor in Taiyuan. The title might be lesser, but Taiyuan is the provincial capital, after all, so perhaps it’s more of a step forward.

    Reply
  2. Jay K.

    A bit misleading, after talking to my friends from Datong, they weren’t actually protesting as more of it as a farewell party to show their support.

    Sure my friends and their relatives are sad to see the mayor leave his post in Datong, because of how much he helped the city turn from an economy based on coal and polluting the environment to something that produces now better air than Beijing..and that’s saying a lot since we all know Shanxi is “coal country”

    This is not seen as a demotion by many in the Datong community (according to my friend and his relatives) but a major promotion for the mayor.

    Reply

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