Half of the Chinese provinces have turned into disaster areas due to flooding, but many people are questioning if some of the disasters were actually man-made. When the water of the Qinhuai River has risen to the alert level, the residents of Nanjing are furious to find out that there are restaurants and bars built “inside” the river embankment.
Recently, some Chinese media reported “the illegally constructed restaurant on the back of the Yangjiaxu section of the Qinhuai River embankment in Jiangning District of Nanjing”. The hollowed out and illegally constructed buildings inside the embankment may affect its integrity and pose risks especially during flood seasons.
When this news broke out a few days ago, it got the attention of all sectors in China. On the morning of the 27th, when some reporters went to check the embankment, they found that the restaurants had been emptied overnight after the local government formally launched an investigation.
Cover-up & slap on the wrist
The local government was trying to downplay and cover-up their corruption by having the local media say that these bars and restaurants were part of the original embankment construction plan in 2014. But a restaurant owner found out that it was not really legal to build restaurants inside the embankment when he had trouble obtaining some required paperwork after the completion of his restaurant. People have always been questioning if these structures violate water conservancy facilities’ safety regulations for thinning the embankment by half in some places.
On July 26, Jiangning District of Nanjing City issued a notice through its official WeChat account, saying that it attached great importance to the matter and immediately investigated and dealt with it. Relevant illegal buildings will be demolished in strict accordance with the “Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on River Management” and other relevant regulations, and in accordance with the requirements of flood prevention and safety work. At the same time, the Jiangning District Commission for Discipline Inspection and Supervision has been involved in the investigation and will seriously pursue the relevant persons responsible in accordance with discipline and law.
On July 28, nine Communist Party members received “warnings” for allowing restaurants built inside the embankment. But the Chinese netizens think those corrupted officials deserve heavier punishments.
The inner side of the embankment, which is only a few steps away from the Qinhuai River, has been fenced off. However, the names of several restaurants and bars on the river embankment can still be found on the map. The illegal restaurants and bars reported a few days ago had all been demolished.
Chang Min, a staff member of Nanjing Jiangning Urban Construction Group Co., Ltd., told reporters that after the incident received media attention, the authority immediately organized experts to conduct an evaluation. The embankment should be restored after cleanup.