Luxury District Government Building Costs 100 Million Yuan

July 2, 2007 Updated: July 2, 2007

Chinese authorities have repeatedly forbidden the construction of luxurious government buildings, but a new government building for Shigu District, Hengyang City of Hunan Province is still under construction, costing a total of 100 million yuan (US$12.5 million). A local district official said that this district's financial capability is very limited and the salaries of the government employees have not been raised for a couple of years. In response to inquiries about the 100 million yuan construction cost, he said, “We are showing off by tightening our belts.”

According to China Economic Times , the district building is actually a complex consisting of six main buildings: a building each for the District Government, the Foreign Services, exhibitions and conferences, the Party Committee, the district Political Consultative Conference and the People's Congress. Along with a courtyard and garden, most of the construction is complete.

Other buildings planned for include those of the District Court, the District Procurator Office, the Bureau of Industry and Commerce, the Department of the People's Armed Forces, and the Department of Logistics.

There is also an exhibition center, which is an architectural feat: conically shaped and surrounded by tens of acres of grasslands, complete with artificial mountain and waterfall decor inside.

The report said Shigu District has already spent tens of millions and plans to add twenty million yuan more this year for the decoration and landscaping project.

A retired official revealed that the People's Congress has only 18 employees and the District Procurator Office has only 10 employees. Less than 30 people are using two buildings with an average area of hundreds of square meters. This is very rare in Hunan Province, even for the whole country.

Peng Chonggu, vice secretary of Hengyang City Party Committee and mayor of the city, said Hengyang City has poor financial capabilities: “We shall spend our limited money on the necessary items. We shall do more practical things and good deeds for our people; it is not allowed to allocate our money to building luxurious government buildings.”

An official said, “The scene here is attractive and grandiose; it is called a “heaven” in Hengyang. But the government employees like us haven't had our salaries raised for a number of years. The district has limited financial capabilities. To spend 100 million yuan to build luxurious buildings is like slapping a slab of fat on one's face until it's swollen. By constructing the top ranked government building in a poor district, we are showing off by tighten our belts.”

He also exposed that some retired officials who disagree with constructing such luxurious buildings went to appeal to the Shigu leadership, but they were told to leave before they even said anything. He said, “Still, the leaders promised to construct the new buildings as 'a project to bring our people wealth' and 'a project that reflects our people's willingness.'”