China post-quake rebuilding fund funneled to luxurious government building

May 19, 2012

By KENTARO KOYAMA/ Correspondent

SICHUAN, China--Local authorities here are under fire for building a lavish government building with public funds earmarked for rebuilding from the 2008 Great Sichuan Earthquake.

The disaster left an estimated 87,000 people dead or missing.

Although the Santai county government has set about remodeling the building's interior, scathing comments continued to be posted May 17 on "weibo" micro-blogging websites, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

"It's hideous. Have they forgotten about the victims?" one posting asked. "It's an insult to the taxpayers," said another.

The eight-story edifice, which will house the labor and social security bureau and other departments of the county government, has an eye-catching, glassed-in exterior wall.

One private office to be used by a senior official had a floor space of 66 square meters, more than seven times the national standard of 9 square meters.

The construction costs have not been disclosed.

In April, the National Audit Office of China raised questions about the overly extravagant building design and the excessively spacious room. It cited the case as one of 63 irregularities related to post-quake rebuilding work.

Although construction of the building was completed last year, the county government, after hearing the audit, said it would take corrective measures, including remodeling the super-huge private office into a conference room.

By KENTARO KOYAMA/ Correspondent
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Eyesore: The office building of the Santai county government in Sichuan province that has drawn so much criticism. The building, pictured May 12, was erected using funds for quake rebuilding. It is now undergoing remodeling of its interior. (Kentaro Koyama)

Eyesore: The office building of the Santai county government in Sichuan province that has drawn so much criticism. The building, pictured May 12, was erected using funds for quake rebuilding. It is now undergoing remodeling of its interior. (Kentaro Koyama)

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  • Eyesore: The office building of the Santai county government in Sichuan province that has drawn so much criticism. The building, pictured May 12, was erected using funds for quake rebuilding. It is now undergoing remodeling of its interior. (Kentaro Koyama)
  • This private office for a senior official of the Santai county government in Sichuan province is being remodeled into a conference room, with a platform in the background, after it came under fire for excessive spaciousness. (Kentaro Koyama)

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