Mayor sorry for demolition death

Updated: 2011-09-29 09:37

By Cao Yin (China Daily)

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BEIJING - An official from Changchun, Jilin province, publicly apologized in a local newspaper on Sept 28 for a forced demolition that led to a woman's death.

Changchun Mayor Cui Jie wrote in Changchun Daily that authorities have learned a lesson from the demolition case, which occurred early this year, and will work to better protect residents' rights by further regulating demolitions.

Cui said that officials will try to prevent accidental deaths by taking forced demolitions more seriously in the future and that various governments departments will be expected to establish a system to supervise demolitions.

On Sept 9, a meeting of four ministries and central government agencies revealed that people had died or had been injured in nearly 11 demolitions that had occurred throughout the country this year.

Fifty-seven officials who were found responsible for the accidents, including the mayor, were punished at the meeting.

Cui was then ordered to issue a public apology in response to a demolition that caused a 48-year-old local resident, Liu Shuxiang, to be buried in building debris on March 26.

The mayor had given two public apologies before making his latest. But the media did not pay much attention to those previous displays of contrition.

At a government meeting on July 9, the mayor apologized for the forced demolition, which had happened in Changchun's Chaoyang district. His second apology came on Aug 8, at a meeting about the city's demolition regulations.

The latest apology was welcomed by many residents.

Liu Baixu, 28, an engineer in the city, told China Daily that the mayor's public apology showed the government was serious about becoming a better manager of forced demolitions.

Lu Xin, 22, a postgraduate student at Jilin University, held a similar sentiment.

"The government must give a formal and sincere apology to us, because it was its wrongdoing that resulted in the woman's death," he said. "That can't be ignored."

Another Changchun resident, a worker at a local college who declined to provide his full name, said the majority of newspapers in the city reported the mayor's latest apology on prominent pages on Wednesday and mentioned Cui's previous two apologies.

Even so, he said he doubts the apologies were sincere, saying they were made just for show.

"Figuring out how to better manage demolitions and punish guilty officials according to the law is more important than an apology," he said.