Home > Uncategorized > China’s Bridges Are Falling Down – Bloomberg

China’s Bridges Are Falling Down – Bloomberg

September 2, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

If the picture and caption had been tweeted the day before the Harbin bridge collapse, New Weekly’s five million Sina Weibo followers no doubt would have gleaned the inference. But in light of Friday’s accident, netizens not only understood the underlying message, but also furiously responded, with more than 9,000 re-tweets and 2,000 comments, nearly all of which expressed dismay at what’s become of modern China. “We now spend millions to build jerry-rigged bridges unworthy of our ancestors,” wrote one commentator, drawing out the point that New Weekly wouldn’t — or, as a highly popular and high-profile media outlet, probably couldn’t — make on its own.

New Weekly isn’t alone in its sudden fascination with the ancient Zhaozhou Bridge, and its potential as a metaphorical critique of Communist Party corruption and incompetence. Since Friday, Sina Weibo has recorded tens of thousands of tweets mentioning the semi-famous span, with the majority showing far less subtlety in connecting it to the Harbin collapse. Arty Eskimo, the online handle for a Sina Weibo user in Guangdong province, tweeted on Tuesday afternoon, “The Zhaozhou Bridge expresses the wisdom of ancient China’s workers; the collapsing bridge in Harbin expresses the wisdom of modern Chinese officials.”

Sadly, collapsing bridges and schools aren’t even the most common examples of Chinese infrastructure failures over the last several months. Reports of roads collapsing and swallowing up cars are increasingly common. Likewise, China has been plagued by a disturbing and often gruesome epidemic of sidewalks collapsing, sometimes into steam pipes. None of this is likely to improve any time soon, regardless of whether the Communist Party succeeds in its most recent corruption crackdown.

So too, that these accidents have come in the aftermath of a $586 billion dollar stimulus program focused on new infrastructure — the largest in the country’s history — which China first announced in 2008, only hints at the disasters to come. Harbin’s collapsed bridge was funded in part by that national stimulus, as was China’s troubled high-speed rail system. What are the others? Sadly, these days it seems that the best way to compile a list might be to watch for the next project to collapse.

via China’s Bridges Are Falling Down – Bloomberg.

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