Thursday, May 22, 2008
Outrage in China over shoddy building
China vowed on Wednesday to deal severely with anyone found responsible for shoddy state building work, as parents demanded to know why last week's earthquake destroyed so many schools, killing thousands of children.
Thousands of children died when their schools crumbled around them, prompting widespread claims that corruption fatally compromised the buildings' strength.
Hundreds of distraught relatives placed wreaths along the road leading to Fuxing primary school in Wufu, where at least 127 children were crushed to death. They hoisted a banner reading, "The children did not die of a natural disaster but of an unsafe building."
In Yinhua town, where more than 200 pupils died, a woman who lost her 13-year-old daughter said the school building had had two levels in 1993, but illegally added two more later.
"When it collapsed it was just fragments, not blocks. That shows how badly built it was," Luo Zaihong said.
A petition circulated in Juyuan town, where 500 or more pupils died in the ruined middle school, demanding punishment of those responsible for shoddy schools, and compensation.
Protests by parents could be troublesome as the ruling Communist Party seeks to maintain a staunch front of unity and stability in the wake of the quake.
China to probe builders after quake collapses