Lavish government buildings is nothing new in China, however, nothing can be compared to the new government building in Jinan, capital of East China's Shandong Province.
According to media reports [zh], the “Long Ao building” cost 4 billion RMB (US$640 million), and is now the largest and most expensive government building in China.
Many netizens compared the buildings’ 4 billion budget with the 180 million budget the city spent on the poor in villages since 2003.
A Jinan government officer explained on December 11, 2012 that the 4 billion investment included costs of the demolition of the old site and land consolidation. He claimed that “not a penny of government money was used” because the money came from replacing old government buildings.
His insensitive comment further triggered online anger with many netizens urging for transparency. Below are some comments from experts and well-known bloggers and reporters.
于建嵘: What’s wrong with the architect? We should track him down. Why doesn’t he make this the world's biggest individual structure in the world?! How is he worthy of this great country and its great time!
抚顺李明律师: Because their families are in the US, so they have to be a little modest.
Call For More Transparency:
恩吉尔斯奈特: Honestly, it's my first time seeing such a huge government office, I was shocked. It is necessary to make the source of the funds public.
菁菁远山: If the government says “not a penny of government money is used”, it means Jinan government has a strong ability to seize, the government has become a super “power company” whose operational capability and level is daunting. Long Ao building has undoubtedly become a window to Chinese society.
吴龙贵: “ This “not a penny of government money is used” claim is even more intolerable than the lavish building itself, because this is a provocation, a blatant disregard for public opinion. It shows that the local government doesn’t have a rational knowledge of the use of public finances and resources. The public has every reason to question that, behind this luxury building, how much taxpayers’ money has been squandered in the name of “no a penny of government money is used”?
和讯网评论:How to cure the “luxury disease” in the construction of government buildings? It is necessary to strengthen government officials’ accountability through rule of law. Government building construction used taxpayers’ money, it is necessary for the National People's Congress to practice budget supervision in accordance with the law and promote public transparency of the budget.