Official in Shandong removed from post over improper behavior
Published: Mar 25, 2022 01:52 AM

A grassroots official in Pingdu, East China's Shandong Province, has been removed from her post for improper behavior in resolving a petitioning case, authorities announced Wednesday.

Wang Li, the former Party chief of Yunshan township of Pingdu, was reportedly caught threatening petitioners in a recording that went viral online. But the case reflects the complexity of China's grassroots governance, as the petitioners were not entirely victims in the case and they appeared to be seeking economic gain from the local government. 
According to the official investigation result, the petitioners went over the head of the local government to the government at a higher level to report that the company they previously worked for had committed tax evasion, money laundering and other crimes.

Wang, as the leader of Yunshan Town, was tasked to resolve the complaints. 

The petitioners said that they would stop petitioning if their detention records were erased and if they were compensated for being "attacked" - it was later found that they had not been attacked. They asked the local government to pay them 3.8 million yuan ($596,000). 

In the process of negotiation, Wang, who was frustrated by their petitioning, broke out in an emotional outburst and made threatening remarks, saying that she had "100 ways to have them detained." 

Her remarks were recorded and later put on the internet and went viral. 

A joint investigation team later intervened and found out that the company the petitioners reported had not committed tax evasion or money laundering, although there were some other minor offenses. 

The petitioners were sentenced to administrative detention in accordance with the law for failing to report their demands following the prescribed procedures and committing illegal acts that disrupted the petition order and public order.

Wang was then removed from the post and given a warning and punishment for violating regulations, improper working methods, treating the masses rudely, and causing serious adverse effects.

Leaders and officials of other relevant departments in Pingdu were also held accountable for their poor handling of the problem and punished accordingly.