Luxurious Government Office Buildings in China

(ReutersChina punishes officials for extravagant offices .  June 1, 2007.

China has punished more than 20 officials from poor inland provinces for spending extravagant amounts of money on new government buildings, state media said on Friday, in Beijing's latest anti-corruption push.

The departments named in the probe include one seat of county government, a city finance bureau and even a mine safety office, all of which put up buildings 'in contravention of the rules', the official Xinhua news agency said.

The punishments ranged from internal Communist Party warnings to sackings, it said. At least one official is being investigated by legal authorities for other, unnamed, problems.

In Puyang county in the poor, interior province of Henan, 18 officials were punished. The local government there spent more than 32 million yuan ($4.2 million) on a vast new office building, Xinhua reported.

Labor and Social Security officials in Puyang also misappropriated pension funds and subsidies for laid-off workers to build the bureau's office building and training centre, the report said.

(Wen Wei Po via ChineseNewsNet)  The Central Disciplinary Committee and six other departments are now following up on four classical cases of "luxurious government office buildings."  The Central Disciplinary Committee deputy secretary Liu Xirong pointed out that some mainland government offices are very luxurious to the point that they look like mini-Tiananmen.  These illegal constructions have serious affected the image of the government and created bad impressions among the people.  He said that both Secretary General Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have been very attentive of the blind competition to outdo each other in the luxuriousness of government office buildings.  The four cases cited today were personally named by Secretary General Hu Jintao.

In the following, there are the details of the four cases.

Case #1:  Puyang county, Henan province

The county is classified as "impoverished" in Henan province.  There are several buildings whose characteristics are incommensurate with 'poverty.'  The Cadre Training Center office building has a total area of 3,704 square meters and was built by improperly appropriating 7.7 million yuan from the pension fund for laid-off workers and another 1.06 million yuan from the surrounding towns.  In the associated worker residences, the average areas of the homes ranged from 281 square meters to 600 square meters.

(source:  The combined county government/party office building in Puyang county

(source:  The combined county government/party office building in Puyang county

(source:  The China Labor Protection Department office building in Puyang county

(source:  Villas for government/party officials in Puyang county

(source:  Villas for government/party officials in Puyang county

(source:  Villas for government/party officials in Puyang county

Case #2: The Shanxi Provincial Food Department

The Yunfeng Pavillion was constructed inside the national class scenic area of the Five Elders Peak in Shanxi province.  The cost was 6.9 million yuan.  The funds came from misappropriating 1.5 million yuan from the state reserve funds and 5.4 million yuan from subsidiary companies.

(source: Qingdao News)

(source: ChineseNewsNet)

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Case #3: Kansu Provincial Financial Department office/dormitory building

The total area was 42,871 square meters (15,539 for office space and 27,332 for residential).  The construction costs 12.845 million yuan while the interior and exterior decorations is 2.005 million yuan.  The average office space per worker was 58.84 square meters, which is seriously over the standard.  The residential space per resident was between 181 to 247 square meters, also seriously over the stanadard.

(source: Qingdao News)

Case #4: Shanxi province Xinzhou coal mine safety supervisory office

The office space has an area of 2,557 square meters.  The project budget was estimated to be 5.49 million yuan.  Of the 5.05 yuan that have been raised, 2.09 million yuan were loands from state coal mining enterprises that are supervised by the office.  The average office space per worker is 255 square meters, which is over the standard by a lot.  There are ten persons working in the building, which has 30 office rooms (12 of them with their own restrooms) and three conference rooms.

(source:  Xinzhou Coal Mine Safety Supervisory Office Building

(source:  Workers' dormitory

(source:  Hostel under construction.