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China: Around The Nation

Chinese villagers criticise officials for building new 1 million yuan office before paying debts on old office

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 November, 2016, 12:34pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 November, 2016, 12:35pm

A village committee in central China spent 1 million yuan (HK$1.1 million) building a new office even though they have yet to pay off the outstanding debts for constructing their former office six years ago, mainland media reports.

Residents in Xipo, in Baoji, Shaanxi province, complained there was no need for local cadres to move out of the existing office – a well-built, nicely decorated single-storey house that was conveniently located in the village, the Huashang Daily reported.

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The newly opened office, a two-storey building situated about 800 metres away from the old office, was believed to have cost at least 1 million yuan, according to a villager who works on construction sites.

A local man who built the old office, said that work had cost him 490,000 yuan, but the village committee still owed him 300,000 yuan.

However, a town government official said the builder of the old office had agreed to complete construction first and then be paid in several instalments.

“As a businessman he should have the awareness for risk!” the official was quoted as saying in the report.

The official said the roof of the old building sometimes leaked and was no longer considered convenient for cadres to work in.

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The new office had also been built using funds provided by a local contractor, the official said.

The village’s party chief was recently taken away for investigation by the local disciplinary watchdog and there was no timetable for repaying the debt, the official also said.