Planet China

Grand designs

Fans of Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing will remember how often the staff complained about the cramped office space in the White House. The building was originally designed for the commander-in-chief of 13 American colonies rather than a superpower. But local officials in Anhui province’s Wangjiang County have no such complaint. Xinhua reports that they’ve just completed a new administrative centre. And despite the county’s modest size, it’s not a modest affair: it’s 8.5 times the size of the White House.

The buildings occupy 12 hectares of former farmland, and has sparked controversy. Local bureaucrats spent Rmb3 million on the glass alone, in spite of running a net fiscal balance of just Rmb210,000. The building also flaunts a State Council ruling that limits the amount of office space local officials can occupy.

Perhaps another unintended consequence of China’s massive stimulus package? A scandalised Shanghai Daily reports that the luxurious offices contrast shamefully with the area’s “dilapidated schools”.


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