3rd Sichuan Earthquake Anniversary
May 12 is the third anniversary
of the 5.12 Sichuan earthquake.
The shoddy school buildings buried 5,000 children.
Now, 3 years on, how has reconstruction progressed
on Sichuan school buildings? How are investigations
on the shoddy buildings coming along?
On May 12, 2008, Wenchuan 8 degree earthquake
left Beichuan Middle School buildings in ruins,
yet other houses, especially government buildings,
were not damaged at all. The outraged public
questioned authorities on the shoddy buildings.
September 1, 2010, the rebuilt Beichuan School
had an official opening. The new school buildings
had an office space of 72,000 square meters,
with 8 seismic intensity. This news has received
a lot of coverage from mainland media.
Local people heard that Beichuan Middle School
spent several hundred million RMB
on reconstruction. Many people said
there was no need to build a luxury high school.
But authorities are trying to save face.
Fan Xiao (a senior geological engineer):
“Some say they spent several hundred million RMB,
others say over one billion, making it too luxurious
for a high school. It’s more than it actually needs .
It just needs to satisfy the basic seismic needs.
It does not require so much money. It is a waste.
It is more about the Chinese Communist Party
(CCP) trying to over-compensate.
A video from Ai Weiwei’s studio shows
that Jiang Fuhai, who lost his son in the earthquake,
said the East Auto Middle School in Deyang,
Sichuan has not been rebuilt. His son
was at that high school during the earthquake.
Jiang Fuhai: “We ask where the money has gone?
Why not rebuilt the school? What did you all do?
The city government building was built
in a new district in less than a year
after the earthquake, yet why hasn’t the school
been rebuilt three years after the earthquake?”
Many parents saw that the contractors
who built the shoddy school buildings, were still
given new contracts for the reconstruction.
School leaders continue to be promoted,
but shoddy construction is still unregulated.
They continue to petition to gain justice for children,
but what they get is prevarication and inaction.
Parents were even put in custody, and forced
to guarantee that they wouldn’t petition any more.
Liu Yuting (mother of a victim): “I was put in a hotel
for 4 days, while I needed to go and meet a relative.
I was not allowed to leave. They asked me to write
a guarantee not to petition. I would not write it."
Tan Zuoren was sentenced to 5 years in prison
for “inciting subversion of state power."
But he was convicted for investigating
the shoddy buildings. Ai Weiwei
gathered 5000+ names of victims,
but one month ago, he suddenly disappeared.
Some netizens revealed that the journalist
who exposed the corrupt Wenchuan mayor
was arrested. The writer who exposed
the inferior quality of the new school buildings
was arrested, while the shoddy builders
were still working. The officials in question
were not punished at all."
NTD reporters Zhao Xinzhi and Wang Mingyu