Liao Fuping and Zhu Daguo stand at the entrance to the Kaixian county office building as Yin Xianqiong lies at their feet in this Jan 13 photo taken and posted online by an unnamed netizen.
Two security guards working at the Kaixian government's office building in Chongqing municipality were fired on Wednesday after photos showing their indifferent attitude towards a petitioner posted online aroused public criticism.
They were fired for damaging the image of the government, a local official said yesterday.
Liao Fuping and Zhu Daguo were on duty when a woman named Yin Xianqiong came to the Kaixian government's office to voice her grievances on Jan 13.
Comment:What should people do?
This might actually be something to celebrate for poor Yin Xianqiong, the 50-something rural woman who, photographs show, was down on her knees begging two uniformed security guards to let her enter the Kaixian county government's office building in southwestern Chongqing.
The woman was sent out of the building after she lost control of herself, but she tried to get back inside and began crawling on the ground in despair.
Liao and Zhu simply stood at the gate while Yin crawled at their feet.
A passer-by took several pictures and posted them online, which resulted in intense attention, most of which criticized the government for their inhumanity and brutality.
In response to the postings, Xu Wenpei, deputy director of the Kaixian government's publicity department, said that "the behavior of the security guards doesn't represent the image of the government".
"They (Liao and Zhu) are not government employees. They were hired by a company that provides security service to the office building. But their behavior did impose severe hazards upon the image of the local government," Xu said.
Yin, a 45-year-old widow in the local village, went to the Kaixian government to petition on Jan 13, claiming she was not allotted enough contracted land and insufficiently compensated in forest and farmland.
Liao and Zhu, the two security staffers who were then on guard, after failing to persuade her to go to the petition department in another building, took her to the staffers on duty on the 11th floor.
In an attempt to get attention, Yin cried and made noises in the office building and was soon brought outside by Liao and Zhu.
However, Yin insisted on going back inside and began crawling on the ground, while the guards did nothing.
In response to the criticism, a clerk at the petition department of the Kaixian government, surnamed Wang, told China Daily that all of Yin's demands have been examined by relevant departments, but all failed to meet the requirements.
She added that criticism is welcome but it should based on objective facts.
"We've conducted an investigation on her demands, yet it showed her requests cannot be approved," Wang told China Daily.
Wang also told said that Yin is well-known in her village as a constant petitioner. She has been petitioning since 2002 and she either cries or quarrels whenever she goes to the government building.
Yin was sent to the local relief station later that day for better care and attendance, the China New Service reported yesterday.
The practice of xin fang - which literally means appeal through letters and visits, otherwise known as petitioning - dates back to China's imperial past but was formally introduced in the 1950s.
A department at every government is tasked with collecting public complaints and delivering them to higher officials.