Quake school given HK$4m to be demolished

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 May, 2012, 12:00am


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A secondary school in Sichuan that was rebuilt using about HK$4 million in Hong Kong donations after the 2008 earthquake is to be demolished, reportedly to make way for a luxury residential complex.

Mianyang Zijing Minzu School, located in the hard-hit quake zone of Mianyang , received about HK$2 million each from the Hong Kong government and a non-governmental organisation to reconstruct its premises after it collapsed in the May 12, 2008, disaster.

Wong Kwan-yu, chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, said the site was found to belong to another school only after Minzu had restarted operations.

The owner sold the site to a developer, Wong said.

He added that the federation had no plans to retrieve its HK$2 million contribution because the school had moved to a new building that was paid for by the local authorities and was 10 times bigger.

But the Development Bureau said it would hold a meeting with the NGO and the local authorities and would consider recovering the Hong Kong government's donation.

Local authorities took back the land, forcing the school to close, said Mak Chai-kwong, head of the Sichuan reconstruction team under the bureau.

Officers visited the school earlier this month to find out what had gone wrong, he said.

'We wanted to speed up the reconstruction, and when too many projects went ahead at the same time, some communication problems might have occurred,' Mak told Commercial Radio yesterday. 'This shouldn't have happened.'

He said the government would find out what happened, though he added: 'This project is not directly under the Hong Kong government's supervision, but under ... the local authorities [in Sichuan].'

Now, 'pupils are having classes in a nice village nearby', he said.

The HK$2 million was taken from Hong Kong's Trust Fund in Support of Reconstruction in the Sichuan Earthquake Stricken Areas, he said.

Chinese-language newspapers in Hong Kong reported that the school had stopped running, and signs and hoardings had been put up.

Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties planned to build a project named Fucheng Wanda Plaza on the site, the papers reported.

The school provided education to ethnic minority children in the quake-hit area of Abazhou.

It reopened in March 2010 with full facilities, including integrated laboratory complexes, student hostels, canteens, libraries and playgrounds.

Hong Kong is financially supporting 184 reconstruction projects in the province, of which 151 are sponsored by the Hong Kong government.

By February, 71 government-led projects and 21 NGO projects had been completed.

With legislators' approval, Hong Kong donated HK$9 billion in stages to support the reconstruction in 2009.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club has given HK$1 billion.

More than 87,000 people died and almost 375,000 were injured in the earthquake.

Mak was invited by Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to take up the part-time job after retirement as a consultant to monitor and co-ordinate the post-earthquake reconstruction work in Sichuan.