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Chinese officials axed for cutting down thousands of trees after Xi Jinping signals disapproval

“How can the city be called Guangzhou without the banyan trees,” one user wrote on the Weibo microblogging service. “[With these trees] chopped, [the government] better plant banyans back.”

Li Xi, the Communist Party chief in Guangdong, the province in which Guangzhou is located, told state media Sunday that the tree removal “gravely damaged the city’s natural ecological environment” and “hurt the public’s fond memories and feelings.” Li added that local officials should realize that Xi paid significant attention to Guangzhou and recognize the severity of the problem.

Among the officials who were punished included Lin Daoping, a city vice mayor, who was given a warning and sacked, according to China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. Four other officials were also fired. Since late 2020, Guangzhou has removed many banyan trees as part of municipal beautification projects.

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