Shoddy station 'a symbol of graft'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 September, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 September, 1998, 12:00am

Beijing's western railway station is a textbook example of shoddy standards and corruption which should serve as a warning on all new state infrastructure projects, the China Economic Times says.

The station was a pet project of disgraced Beijing party boss Chen Xitong and was opened in 1995 by Li Peng as part of the capital's bid to host the Olympic Games.

It was hailed as a triumph and Asia's biggest station.

Now it turns out that even though the six billion yuan (HK$5.6 billion) project overran its budget by nearly a third, 400 million yuan of debts are still unpaid and workers are owed 69 million yuan in wages.

The paper said a court on August 27 found contractor Su Qinghu guilty of supplying low-quality fake valves for the station's water system.

He was contracted to use 20 million yuan worth of valves, but spent only 500,000 yuan on cheap alternatives.

'The result is that less than five years after the West Station was put into operation, it has to change all the valves,' the paper said, claiming that losses exceeded 20 million yuan.

The paper said the case was typical of corruption across the building industry.

The China Economic Times said it was common for prestigious projects to be rushed so they could open on a significant date. This meant there was 'astonishing waste and terrible hidden problems'.