The Seven-Story Chinese Office Block Built for Just Eight Officials

Lavish construction project in impoverished village causes outrage

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When China’s Premier Li Keqiang came into office early this year, he vowed there would be no more new government buildings constructed over the next five years — in order to crack down on ostentatious displays of government largesse. Obviously, one of Li’s subordinates in China’s central Hunan province disagreed with his edict. On Thursday, pictures of a luxury government building in Yungai — a village infamous for its poverty in Hunan province — went viral on Sina Weibo, the Chinese microblogging service, triggering a furor among Chinese netizens.

Local newspapers reported that the seven-story office, which cost Yungai village $2.46 million, was built for just eight officials working there. Tan Junwu, head of the Yungai village commission, claimed the office was built to attract business transactions and foreign investments. But his response to the online ruckus did nothing to dissipate anger over his new office.

“Many Chinese officials have a penchant for extravagance and grandiosity,” wrote one Sina Weibo user. “They enjoy unlimited power while showing no respect for the people! They only care about their own lives and do not care about the people’s suffering.”

(MORE: Chinese Official Pigs Out at Lavish Banquet, Disses Countrymen, Gets Fired)

The penchant Chinese officials have for lavish office buildings is no secret. In 2007 local officials in Fuyang, Anhui province, finished construction of an office that resembles the White House. In September 2012 bureaucrats in a township in underdeveloped Henan province spent $4.94 million on a 10-story behemoth for just 200 staffers; while earlier this year the municipal government of Jinan, capital of eastern Shandong province, spent $657 million on a 16-story building that has made history as the second largest office building in the world after the Pentagon.

The local government in Changsha, provincial capital of Hunan, appears to have realized it has an embarrassment on its hands. “We have launched an investigation into Yungai’s luxury building,” a local government officer told TIME.

MORE: Does a Purge of Senior Officials Mean That China Is Serious About Its Corruption Problem?

11 comments
alurlyrx
alurlyrx

This is the communist way. Those at the top get the privileges, but expect everyone else to be equal, at the bottom. Same with our "sharing the wealth."  It'll make everyone equal at the bottom. Those the advocate it are either already wealthy, work for the government, or don't work and live off other people's tax payments. Just like Detroit, when the taxpayers move out, the others won't have anyone to shake down.

ha.pakal
ha.pakal

Overthrow those dogs! They want to have their cake and eat it too. Democracy not oligarchy. Vast concentrations of wealth are inherently undemocratic in nature. See British Monarchy, East India Company, or any transnational corporation today.

unraveling
unraveling

Many Chinese officials have a penchant for extravagance and grandiosity, wrote one Sina Weibo user. They enjoy unlimited power while showing no respect for the people! They only care about their own lives and do not care about the people’s suffering. Wow.  Neato.  Same as in the US.  The only difference is folks haven't figured it out yet.

nancy1
nancy1

Thousands of years of Chinese history show tyrants are plentiful and that it's a constant battle of good over evil.

Adsum
Adsum

The dimensions of the building are structured so as to accommodate the volume of their egos.

elhamb3166
elhamb3166

The Chinese legislators and government bureaucrats are learning from ours.  After all, it is not their money they are spending.   The Chinese, like their American counterparts have figured out how to slop at the Federal trough

duduong
duduong

The bishop of bling from Germany spends $40+million on a residential building just for himself. Let's see, 40/2.46*8=130. So, apparently the threshold for extravagance is 130 times higher in the West. Last time I check, the Chinese GDP per capita was significantly higher than 1/130 of Europe. Just goes to show that the Chinese are an easily outraged people.

VijayaraghavanMb
VijayaraghavanMb

I am not a Communist because I am aged! Not only that, a bit confused to find that liberalised democratic system or dictator like mono party system is good? Both the modern system in fact became useless to common man. When one casts his vote the winner flee to power and its enjoyments. Nobody looks down to his voter. The Gov. holds no will power to act for people. Even though the Gov. is the law maker it indirectly encourages loopholes for its own law just like keeping mum on killing one`s own children.