Southwestern China’s Post Quake New Home Construction ‘Flawed’

Radio free Asia, Mar. 26, 2010-

HONG KONG— Residents of China’s southwestern province of Sichuan made homeless by the devastating earthquake of May 12, 2008 have called on the Chinese government to hold an inquiry into the construction of their new homes, which they say are substandard and unsafe.

The residents of Caoba village near the provincial capital Chengdu said the houses, built with some of the billions of yuan earmarked by central government for post-quake reconstruction, are already beginning to crack.

“We are calling on higher levels of government, Party discipline inspection committees, and law enforcement agencies to come out and conduct a fair and impartial investigation into the problems we have raised above,” the villagers wrote in an open letter, posted on the Internet and signed by more than 100 residents.

The villagers are complaining of cracks that have appeared in prefabricated concrete slabs, walls, structural concrete beams, and roofs across large areas of new housing constructed in Xiaoyudong township.

Some of the bathrooms and kitchens had already sprung serious water leaks, while structurally important parts of balconies had fallen off in some apartments, the residents said.

“The buildings have only just been completed and already they’re showing cracks,” one resident said. “We haven’t even moved in yet. They are still fitting them out, and already we have these kinds of problems.”

“We told [the construction company]. But they have ways of covering this up,” he said.

Moving in anyway

Villagers said some of their number had moved in to the apartments in spite of safety concerns.

“They don’t know what else to do. Their own houses have been completely demolished,” the Caoba resident said.

Villagers have accused the construction company of using substandard and even fake concrete, which was being delivered to the construction site in the middle of the night.

Protests to local government over these allegations have already resulted in clashes between protesters and the authorities, they said……. (more details from Radio Free Asia)