Online outrage at 4 billion yuan municipal office in Jinan, Shandong

Web users mock lavish spending by Jinan cadres in building largest government complex in Asia

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2012, 4:00am


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The Jinan municipal government's massive 4 billion yuan (HK$4.96 billion) offices have sparked online outrage, amid the Communist leadership's repeated discouragement of displays of luxury among its cadres after the 18th party congress.

China Radio International reported on its website that the 16-storey Long'ao building measured 370,000 square metres - making it the largest government offices in Asia in terms of floor space and the second-largest in the world after the Pentagon, which spans 610,000 sq metres.

The Jinan building was ringed by a corridor one kilometre in circumference and had more than 40 lifts, along with 45,000 telephone and computer sockets, the report said.

A staff member from the municipal government's information office said he was aware of the report, but refused to confirm the building's dimensions and its total cost. The building now housed most of the government agencies in the city, he said.

He did not directly answer when asked about the central government's policy against luxury projects, only saying: "It's a great design that takes full advantage of the space."

Close to the Shandong provincial capital's Olympic Sport Centre, the complex was built for the 11th National Games in 2009, when it served as a media and command centre.

But one Sina Weibo user said: "What a shame it doesn't win against the Pentagon. Can we use the 4 billion yuan to buy more cotton clothes for poor children to keep them warm in winter?"

Also mocking the building's reported price tag, Qian Wenzhong, a history professor at Fudan University, said: "I truly think, hope and believe … the salary of migrant workers will be paid on time this year."

Local government officials have poured millions into luxury infrastructure projects to attract investors and spur local markets. But such projects often trigger public resentment as they are viewed as signs of corruption.

Criticism over a government building in Fuyang, Anhui province, that resembled the White House led to the sacking of officials who took bribes. In September, officials in a township in the underdeveloped city of Xinyang, Henan, spent 30 million yuan on a 10-storey office for 200 staff.