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Mountain's name changed arbitrarily

China Daily | Updated: 2010-01-29 07:55

Zhangjiajie city authorities in Hunan province recently changed the name of a mountain to Avatar Hallelujah Mountain after the name of the mountain in the movie, Avatar. The authorities claim the change of name is in accordance with public opinion. But it is power, not public opinion, which has changed the name, says an article in China Youth Daily. Excerpts:

Avatar has brought us not only fun, but also funny news. Recently, authorities of Zhangjiajie city in Hunan changed the name of their mountain from Qiankunyizhu (Pillar of Universe) to Avatar Hallelujah Mountain. Local officials claim this was in done accordance with the opinion of residents and tourists.

Frankly speaking, the officials should be praised for their action because it could help stimulate the local economy by drawing more tourists to the place.

But online survey results don't seem to agree with the officials' claim that the decision to change the name was taken in accordance with public opinion. Most of the voices on several websites' survey boards criticize the move. Some netizens have even said they would protest against it by not visiting the mountain again.

It is obvious that the officials' claim to have acted according to public opinion is not true. In fact, it is power, not public opinion, which has changed the mountain's name.

The names of many places have been changed before. But most of them were changed after scientific analyses and public hearings, during which ordinary people and experts both could express their opinions. Nowhere have officials take a decision arbitrarily.

Justice is an essential part of a social plan. The Zhangjiajie officials may have changed the name of the mountain with good intentions - to stimulate the economy - but they should not have neglected public opinion in the process. And by doing so, they have lost people's trust. To win that back, they have to take proper measures to regulate their powers.

(China Daily 01/29/2010 page9)

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