Corner Cutting Exposed in Jilin Railway Bridge Project

A Chinese construction worker points to bridge piers in Jilin province that were constructed with improper materials.

Unfinished bridge piers in Jilin province where corners were cut in their construction.

From NetEase:

Jilin 2.3 billion railway project becomes “tofu dregs” [“rubbish”]

Recently, a 2.3 billion yuan railway project in the Jingyu and Fusong counties of Baishan city in Jilin province was declared to have been illegally subcontracted to a “counterfeit” company and several contractors/foremen who “completely do not know how to build bridges”, that the concrete that was supposed to be poured for the bridge’s piers [the unfinished pillars in the photos] were actually replaced with large amounts of stones, under the nose of the project’s supervisors, posing a serious safety risk. Photo is of the No. 3 Bridge’s piers that have been accused of having gravel added during the process of pouring [concrete] (taken October 21st).

Unfinished bridge piers in Jingyu and Fusong counties of Jilin province where corners were cut in their construction.

2009 June, the Shengyang Railway Bureau opened the “Jingyu to Songjiang River Line Project” up to bids [by construction companies]. The China Railway No. 9 Group., Ltd. won, then split this one project into several subcontracts, with one of them going to a certain Jiangxi Changxia Construction Engineering Group., Ltd. who then subcontracted to several unqualified migrant worker construction crews. Photo is of the project site, with over ten 50 meter high bridge piers standing on the Songhuajiang lake side where already not a single construction worker can be seen.

A sign for a railway bridge project that has been exposed to have dangerous construction quality problems.

The construction projects subcontracted to Jiangxi Changxia Construction Engineering Group included the Songhuajiang No. 2 bridge, the No. 3 bridge and Shengli Village tunnel, etc. Lu Tianbo was responsible for the construction of the No. 2 bridge, while the person responsible for the construction of the No. 3 bridge and tunnel was like him, both of them being migrant workers without road and bridge construction experience. Before signing construction contracts with them, no one did a review of their qualifications.

A pile of gravel allegedly used in place of concrete in the construction of a bridge's foundation.

During the construction of the bridges, problems with using substandard materials were common. According to Lv Tianbo, Zheng Wei and other construction workers, during the construction of the bridges, several foundations for bridge piers that were supposed to be filled with pure concrete were instead filled with gravel, sand, and other mixtures, and the project supervisory department still signed off on them. Photo is of the quarry where gravel added into the bridge piers were shipped from (taken October 21st).

A close-up photo of the bridge's foundations, allegedly poured with gravel mixtures instead of pure concrete.

Zhao, a researcher at the Bridge Design Research Institute of China Railway Planning and Design Institute explains that putting stone material in the lower parts of the bridge piers will cause the lower parts of the bridge to have slopes or serious uneven load-bearing capabilities. Once the railway is built, and is subjected to various forces and stresses over time, tilting or even breaking of the bridge piers may occur. One construction worker said bluntly, “I wouldn’t dare ride [any trains that go over this bridge] once its opened”. Photo is of the foundation for the No. 2 bridge accused of having been poured with gravel due to corner cutting during construction (taken October 22nd).

A Chinese construction worker points to bridge piers in Jilin province that were constructed with improper materials.

Nie Xifeng, a person in charge of the China Railway No. 9 Group., Ltd. Yu-Song Project Department says: “Review [checking of qualifications] were done just by looking at the original documents and they all had official seals on them. We didn’t use other methods to conduct reviews, as long as all of the documents were complete.” However, a person in charge for the China Railway No. 9 Group inadvertently revealed the truth: “Jiangxi Changxia was introduced in [to the project] by a high-level leader in the Shenyang Railway Bureau, you tell me how we’re supposed to review [their background and qualifications].” Photo is of a construction worker pointing out one of the No. 2 bridge piers poured with gravel (taken October 22nd).

A construction worker shows evidence that the workers wages were not paid and still owed.

Nie Xifeng ultimately admitted the problems in the subcontracting. He even said that when the on-site supervision discovered that there were problems, the company had them clean it up/fix it and issued documents. However this reporter discovered during investigations that after 2010 July, the project department did not actually carry out comprehensive investigations, and this kind of behavior also did not stop. Photo is of a construction employee showing this reporter a document of debt for wages in arrears.

Construction work has stopped for a railway bridge project in Jilin province exposed as having serious construction quality issues due to subcontractor corruption.

China Railway No. 9 Group’s Deputy Director Zhao Tiejun said that China Railway No. 9 Group has set up a special investigation team as a result of this, will take core samples from the relevant bridge piers, and absolutely does not tolerate the existence of construction quality problems; and with regards to the exposed management problems, they have fully learned their lesson and will avoid such problems happening again. Shenyang Railway Bureau Deputy Director Wang Fan also stated that they have set up a special investigation team to rectify these problems and conduct on-site testing, and shall seriously deal with the exposed problems in accordance with regulations. Photo is of the No. 2 bridge construction site, where other than the journalist no construction workers can be seen (taken October 22nd).

Comments from NetEase:


What construction project doesn’t have the phenomenon of cutting corners? Is it really this shocking?

跟帖总局局长 [网易河北省邢台市网友]:

I think it is always like this, if your [construction workers] wages weren’t held in arrears, would you guys report/tip-off [the construction problems]…?

飞鸟二世 [网易天津市网友]:

So subcontracted foremen must understand engineering projects? If you put it that way then company CEOs all must be proficient in every specialty of their companies!

秋风红叶寒 [网易四川省绵阳市网友]: 2011-11-01 13:45:58 发表

You are all too incredible. May I ask, if there weren’t these construction projects, where would all the people in our country go to find work? Go where for employment? Go where to increase housing prices?

郎教授粉丝 [网易江西省网友]:

An American came to China for tourism and accidentally fell into a construction ditch. After he climbed out he said very angrily: “In our America, dangerous places always marked with a red flag!” The tour guide very calmly replied: “Didn’t you already see it when you entered the country?”

歼灭美狗 [网易广东省中山市网友]:

This only proves that our country is too corrupt!


Everyday hollering that there are laws to abide by, that there are laws that must be followed, that law enforcement must be strict. But there is one line missing: Effective law enforcement. Our policies are always drawn up strict, but the flexibility of enforcement is large. Over time… the ability of laws to deter becomes less and less…

五mao美狗对咬 [网易河南省郑州市网友]:

[quoting the captions] However, a person in charge for the China Railway No. 9 Group inadvertently revealed the truth: “Jiangxi Changxia was introduced in [to the project] by a high-level leader in the Shenyang Railway Bureau, you tell me how we’re supposed to review [their background and qualifications].”

网易广东省深圳市网友 [川西家人]: (responding to above)

Can you tell us this leader’s name…?

seedoes [网易四川省成都市网友]:

In a certain place: Conscience has no value, law has no dignity, morality has no bottom line, the people have no rights, husbands and wives have no fidelity, love is not pure, LD [the leaders, rulers] don’t speak the truth, food is not safe, the environment has no tomorrow, property rights have no guarantees, culture has no outlet, innovation has no market, greed has no limits, ideas have no belief/conviction… Question: Where is this?

民主与法制 [网易上海市网友]: (responding to above)

Let me add one more, “dictatorship has no end date”.

网易江苏省徐州市网友: (responding to above)

Rabble, when we live in this kind of country, where can happiness come from?

网易广东省江门市网友 [jonathan1588]: (responding to above)

Get lost, idiots like you are completely ignorant of what is happiness! That’s why you don’t feel the happiness we have today, nor do you know to cherish it, only knowing how to bark wildly like a dog here!

网易安徽省网友 [名字不能超过个汉字]: (responding to above)

Bark bark!

网易广东省江门市手机网友: (responding to above)

You retard first go learn some history, learn about all the great achievements made in the 30 years of Reform and Opening Up, and maybe if you’re lucky you can discover your own ignorance…

网易广东省深圳市手机网友 [单眼匹狼]: (responding to above)

Great? Aside from having made some of the world’s largest zongzi and largest cakes/breads, the accomplishments, having become the worlds largest landfill, having the darkest river waters, and the most poisonous food. The fruits of these achievements definitely were not piled up by one person, yet they were divided up and enjoyed by only a few people. The person above must be a public servant/government official.

网易广东省江门市手机网友: (responding to above)

I’m not a public servant/government official, I experienced and saw the great achievements and fruits of 30 years of reform and opening up. I know that 10 years before I was born the country did not have as much population as right now, yet having food to eat was even a problem, where the only household appliance was an electric light, where the only transportation tool were bicycles…

网易上海市普陀区网友 [你入抵制日]: (responding to above)

Friend from Guangzhou, you can stop talking now! You guys most appreciate Comrade [Deng] Xiaoping! This everyone knows/understands!


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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