Chinese village official punished after house of hollow brick was built without foundations for poor family

  • Official in Guizhou province ‘had too much business’ to do job properly
  • Contractor came up with solution to tight deadline – no foundations
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2018, 6:40pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2018, 6:44pm

A village party official in southwest China has been punished after he built a house without foundations from hollow bricks for a poor family using state funding to meet a deadline.

During an inspection in April, authorities found the house for the Jin family in Shunhe village, Qianxi county in Guizhou province, had been built in fewer than eight days on the orders of Du Zhengguo, a statement from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said on Monday.

When Du heard about the inspection, he hired a contractor from the village on February 6 to build the house and told him to complete it by February 13, the commission said.

The house was built without a foundation, its cement floor laid on loose soil, the inspector found. At a hearing on April 8, five days after the inspection, Du admitted he had told the contractor to use hollow cement bricks and to disguise the shoddy work with cement.

“I have too much business to attend to, so I never went to check on the house myself and don’t know what it’s like,” Du said at the hearing.

Shunhe village began offering aid to poor families to build houses in early 2017 as part of Beijing’s poverty alleviation push. Guizhou is China’s poorest province. The Jin family had received a 35,000 yuan subsidy for a house, said the commission.

However, the only members of the family remaining in the village were an 83-year-old elder and an ailing daughter. The 55-year-old son had moved away to work, so the family was unable to take up construction of their home.

New thinking needed to level playing field for those living in poverty

According to a United Nations report, at least 5.7 per cent of China’s population lives in poverty, and Chinese President Xi Jinping has made wiping out poverty across China by 2020 a priority.

One of the primary poverty alleviation measures is to relocate people living in rural areas and areas prone to earthquakes and landslides, as well as developing tourism and e-commerce to help villagers find jobs. In March, the government announced it that aimed to relocate 2.8 million people from inhospitable areas, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

Local government officials are now evaluated on not just on GDP growth, but on how well they have carried out poverty alleviation, American radio station NPR reported. Officials in Guizhou planned to move 750,000 people from rural farms in 2017.