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On site mediation ordered
By Cai Xiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-14 05:57

SHENZHEN: Shenzhen government officials have been ordered to immediately respond to mass protests in person.

By quickly and directly addressing discontented crowds, it is hoped officials can resolve problems calmly and defuse highly charged situations.

The task is an important one for local government officials working to make Shenzhen a harmonious society, according to an official who refused to be named.

The new requirements have been introduced following an attempted strike by local taxi drivers that was successfully resolved by local officials earlier this month.

According to the Measures to Prevent and Settle Incidents Involving Groups of Residents in Shenzhen, local government departments must quickly respond to such incidents in the city.

Major city, district and neighbourhood officials, as well as managers and senior executives of State-owned enterprises, are required to arrive on the scene as soon as possible after incidents are reported.

They must then resolve any problems and report details of the incident, including the place, time, cause and steps taken to settle the dispute, to higher authorities.

Officials who fail to do so will be punished or even removed from their posts.

Xu Guangcai, a local taxi driver, said many local residents have welcomed the introduction of the measures.

"The new measures will certainly help the government prevent and supervise any possible such incidents," Xu said.

Early this month Shenzhen taxi drivers planned to strike in protest at taxes, but industrial action was called off after government mediation.

(China Daily 10/14/2005 page3)

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