People question government spending in Chinese province


Beijing : A plan to replace traffic signs in a Chinese province with new ones at a total cost of 100 million yuan ($15.54 million) has stirred a public debate, with residents questioning the wisdom of the authorities to splurge on a superficial image-building exercise.

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Authorities in Nanjing, capital of China’s Jiangsu province, intend to replace all its traffic signs with the new ones, to prepare for the upcoming Youth Olympic Games to be held in the city in 2014, Xinhua reported.

Various internet users have expressed doubt and distrust after news of the replacement of the traffic signs was reported by local media Sunday.

“Let’s steal signboards to make a fortune! One board for 3,000 yuan – will it be made of gold, silver or bronze?” said a netizen with the screenname “Wang Qian” in a post on a popular microblogging site.

Another netizen using the screenname “wandering on a snail” said it was time for the city to put aside “superficial projects” to take care of its unseen “real disease”.

“Didn’t you see the city’s severe flooding after the torrential rains? The unseen drainage system is the real disease you need to cure,” the netizen said.

Some netizens urged the local government to reconsider the project and rather look at local residents’ real demands.

“As people continue to increase their awareness and participate more in the administration of public affairs, they will pay more and more attention to government decisions that concern not only themselves, but also other people and aspects,” said Xie Shicheng, a political professor at Nanjing Normal University.

Xi Hui, an official with the city’s urban management bureau, admitted that he didn’t expect the replacement project to draw so much negative attention, while stating that the price for the project was “fair enough”.

Xi, however, said that public opinion is welcome and the final decision will be made based on those opinions.