Thursday, December 30, 2010
The comparison with between the 7.9 magnitude earthquake in China resulting in a loss of 70,000 lives in Sichuan on May 12, and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Japan resulting in the death of 12 people in Miyagi on June 17 is telling. The problem is “tofu” construction of many modern buildings in China. The construction issue reminded me of my visit to Beijing University in 1999. Since 1978, Beijing University constructed a number of modern buildings, including one used by geography department, using funds received from wealthy Chinese overseas. One day, after giving a lecture in geography department that had been built in the previous year, I went to the toilet to find that the ceiling was peeling off looking like it was centuries old. When I asked about the ceiling my Chinese friend told me that it was the result of corruption and short cuts taken during the construction. I was not surprised when a number of the Chinese schools in Sichuan collapsed due to “tofu” construction because one of the most famous colleges in China -- Beijing University -- can have “tofu” construction; the “tofu” construction will be all over Chinese schools, especially those located in inner China. It is now time for the officials of the Chinese Communist Party to show its people that they can deal with its own corruption, and they are standing on people’s side, not with corrupted officials side.