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.