Two directors from Dongguan railway station in Guangdong province have been sacked after two railway officers helped Spring Festival passengers board the train through windows.
Director Liu Xiaoping and Party chief Liao Xuzhen were sacked for "poor management of the station" after a reporter took photographs of officers helping passengers.
"They (the pictures) showed the station was in chaos and the management was ineffective," a Guangzhou Railway Group spokeswoman said.
Liao declined to comment on the issue when contacted by Guangzhou Daily on Saturday, but he said he had already left his job.
In the trouble-making photos, passengers were trying to climb into a train through the windows, with their bodies halfway into the cabins and legs hanging out. Some staffers were pushing the passengers to help them get in.
The train in the photos was No 1247 from Shenzhen to Xinyang, Henan province on Jan 25. It stopped at Dongguan for four minutes, while there were over 1,500 passengers waiting to get on to the train, an officer at the station was quoted by local media as saying on Saturday.
"It was impossible for all the passengers to get on to the train in such a short time period. The staffers were just kindly giving a hand so the passengers could get home for Spring Festival. We never expected such a serious consequence," the officer said.
The reporter who took the photos, Zheng Lindong, from the Dongguan Daily, also said he was very sorry for the result.
"I haven't called Liu and Liao yet, and it's useless to say sorry," Zheng was quoted by a local media as saying on Saturday.
The directors' removal has stirred hot online discussion, and most netizens were sympathetic to the two officials.
A related survey conducted by Sina.com, a major news portal, collected 85,723 votes by 5:00 pm yesterday, in which 84.5 percent voters said they were against the sacking of Liu and Liao. Only 12 percent supported the decision, and the remaining 3.5 percent said they were undecided.
Online comments show those who disagreed with the dismissal of the officials thought the railway officers were just showing they were sympathetic to the passengers. The inefficient transportation system should be blamed for the chaos, the voters said.