China Media Project translates a bold open letter from three journalists to the government and people of Mianyang, a city near the epicentre of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake. Although shoddy construction magnified the impact of the quake, the letter warns that substandard steel reinforcement is now being used in the construction of the Wanda Plaza, a major commercial site:
According to our investigation over recent months, one-third of the reinforcing steel used in this project so far was purchased by 9th Metallurgical from Jintang (金堂), Guanghan (广汉) and other small steel works, and substandard steel materials such as the “inferior steel” (地调钢) that is expressly forbidden by the state are being used [in the project]. This reinforcing steel product does not carry a steel manufacturing number from the producer, and what’s more it has not product quality certification (产品合格证), and all of it was brought on to the construction site at Wanda Plaza in the middle of the night.
The Mianyang Wanda Plaza project is massive, with a construction area of 450,000 square meters. There are a total of seven processing areas for reinforcing steel, and each of these has massive quantities of poor-quality steel. According to our careful estimates made through undercover work, we found that this steel falls below national quality standards — for example 10mm steel reinforcements, which are nationally limited to no less than 9.6mm, are only 8mm at this project site (please see the photographs following this letter).
The final picture shows local offices of the main contractor on the project. A banner features the slogan, “China State Construction Engineering Corp: Quality is Weightier than Mount Tai”.