Chinese Official Defends Construction of Schools Felled in Quake
Although ten months have passed since the tragic earthquake hit Sichuan Province, the many parents whose children were killed are still waiting for answers. A vice governor of Sichuan Province has declined to release the total figure of school children killed in the quake, and has blamed the quake itself and not faulty or corrupt construction for their deaths. From the New York Times:
Local and provincial officials have responded angrily to criticisms of school construction practices, and particularly to suggestions from some parents that there might have been corruption involved in the construction process for schools. The local authorities have silenced many parents who lost children in the earthquake, through a combination of compensation payments and intimidation.
A mother whose 11-year-old daughter died in the earthquake said by telephone on Sunday that “of course it was tofu construction that led to the collapse of the school.”
The mother, who requested anonymity because of continued government efforts to discourage public discussion of the collapse of the schools, said that she believed that the government must have a tally of schoolchildren who died in the earthquake, since communities in her area were well aware of death tolls at their local schools.