Planet China

Black house

Black house

Trying to keep provincial officials from squandering public funds on grandiose pet projects is starting to look downright impossible. A year ago, in WiC60, we wrote about some of the more extravagant examples – highlighting a replica of Washington’s White House built in an impoverished Anhui city. The official behind the scheme, Fuyang Party Secretary Zhang Zhiquan, was convicted of taking bribes and got a commuted death sentence.

You’d think the precedent would serve as a warning to his successors, but some things just don’t change. Apparently the main lesson drawn was that the building’s ‘feng shui’ (luck) needed a change, which necessitated further spending on the scandal plagued structure. The new crop of Fuyang leaders ‘remedied’ the situation by changing the building’s main gate (to face east instead of south) and building a new bridge leading up to it.

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