Bridge collapses have occurred frequently in China in the last few years. The latest such incident occurred last month in the northeastern city of Harbin and has sparked renewed public discussions about government corruption and the practice of building low-quality infrastructure projects to help boost China’s GDP.
Since 2007, 15 bridges have collapsed in China. Only three of them were more than 15 years old at the time of their collapse, according to a report by the Shandong Business Daily.HT: A commenter at EconBrowser
On Aug. 24, a 330-foot long approach ramp of Harbin’s Yangmingtan Bridge fell over, killing three and injuring five. The bridge had been in use less than a year and is the eighth bridge collapse in China this year. The Harbin administration has so far not openly addressed the case.
Zhao Wenjin, the lead commentator of Lanzhou Daily, commented on the incident, saying, “With each collapse, we need to reflect: why are we chasing GDP?”
According to a Jingyang Net report, Wang Yang, Party secretary of Guangdong Province, said at a provincial Party meeting in 2009: “Sometimes the GDP number looks good, but it didn’t really create wealth for society. It was, instead, a waste of society’s wealth.
“For example, building a bridge creates GDP. When the bridge collapses and is taken down, it creates another addition to the GDP. When the bridge is rebuilt, more GDP is created. As such, one bridge resulted in three additions to the GDP. But it was a tremendous waste of resources.”...MORE