Wearing shoe covers for a field inspection, Shaanxi officials prompt online ridicule


Chinese Society  Updated:Sat, Nov 16, 2013 00:22 AM   By Bernd Chang


Official inspection,Publicity stunt

Officials from Xianyang Science Association led by chairman Ya Binjian were pictured wearing shoe covers to inspect a fruit research base in Xingping city under the jurisdiction of Xianyang. 

Failed publicity stunt: Shaanxi officials are grilled online after pictures showing they wore shoe covers to conduct an inspection to an orchard go viral.

  • Official inspection
  • Official inspection
  • Official inspection
  • Official inspection


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For officials of Science Association of Xianyang city in northwestern China’s Shaanxi province, attracting national media coverage would normally seem a dream come true. Unfortunately, their moment in the spotlight is not what they had expected: they have harvested a sea of ridicule over the shoe covers they wore to conduct an inspection to a fruit research demonstration base in subordinate Xingping city.

Ya Binjian, chairman of the Science Association of Xianyang city, and his colleagues find themselves in the center of a crowd of spectators after revealed by some netizen with sharp nose that he and his colleagues wore shoe covers during a field inspection, Southern Metropolis Daily reported.

“Wearing shoe cover for an inspection on the field is interesting”, commented @东秦大视野 on his Weibo yesterday afternoon after he noted on the Xingping government website that the photo accompanying a report about the Xianyang official inspection on November 12th to a fruit research demonstration base in Xingping city shows they all wore shoe covers during the inspection.

The microblog report has since spread quickly on Chinese internet with all major online news websites putting up the story as headline on Saturday.

“My knowledge tells me that it is necessary to wear a pair of shoe covers to visit a server center or other places that require clean environment. What information did the Xianyang officials want to convey to the public by wearing shoe covers on a field inspection? Is it because their shoes are precious as gold?” commented one netizen.

The Xianyang officials were apparently feeling awkward standing at the spotlight and responded Friday that they were asked to wear shoe covers to visit a tissue culture room and then advised by the guiding expert not to take off the covers because they would hold a meeting back in the office after the ensuing field inspection. In the meantime, the relevant photo was removed from the official website of Xianyang Science Association, according to Southern Metropolis Daily.

So far, the webpage on the Xingping city government website has remained unchanged.

Chinese netizens are apparently not satisfied with the explanation of the officials, as can be seen from the truckload of online criticism and ridicule.

A NetEase user from Canada: Officials actually wore shoe covers out of goodwill to avoid crops being contaminated by their own dirty bodies.

A NetEase user from Changchun city: Of course they should wear a show cover, as you know leaders often bring covers (condoms) with them wherever they go.

A NetEase user from Yangjiang city, Guangdong province: Inspection equals to devils entering the village. We would rather hope these idiots stay in their office playing computer games than go down to the countryside to disturb the folk.

NetEase user 最美好的东西都是免费的: If these inspections do help, our farming uncles would be willing to carry them piggyback!

NetEase user 补钙王子: Do not go down to conduct inspection if you do care tidiness. Since you have gone, you should not have worn the dust covers. Two words to you: An irony!

A NetEase user from Singapore: The official response sounds reasonable. It is not worth making a fuss over the shoe covers.

I agree with the Singaporean netizen. Anyway, the Xianyang officials did not ask the orchard researchers to carry them piggyback, nor did they doctor the photo to remove the troublemaking shoe covers.

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