Bricks That Fall Apart in Your Hands

Wang Keqin’s blog has a very long accounting (based on this original story) of how the rebuilding is going in earthquake-affected areas like Mianyang. Unfortunately, it seems some of the new building materials are just as shoddy, or even worse, then the ones destroyed in the 5/12 earthquake. His post is too long to translate in its entirety, but a picture says a thousand words in this case:

When a person’s house falls down because of shoddy materials, it is devastating in many ways. Not only has their home gone which causes financial problems, but all those sentimental items are lost too. Things like photos, special gifts and valuables such as computers are also gone. People do miss technology just as much as sentimental items; the freedom of surfing the web, reading poker news or just checking emails is gone.

As soon as you poke it it breaks to pieces
"As soon as you poke it it breaks to pieces"
“With this kind of brick, even a common person can do magic
“With this kind of brick, even a common person can 'do magic'"
The problem is the little white things; too much calcium oxidizes before the heating process, leading to this brick powder
"The problem is the little white things; too much calcium oxidizes before the heating process, leading to this 'brick powder'"

“The company making these powder bricks easily passed official inspection
“The company making these 'powder bricks' easily passed official inspection"

Selected comments from Wang’s blog

Nice watch, also, the quality of these bricks is really terrible

People, eh….how stupid. It makes me think of a sentence, “today’s new bottles hide yesterday’s spoiled brew, so who is a dissenter in this new age?” The earthquake shocked the world but couldn’t shock the hearts of those only out for themselves. Dog officials, dog officials!

Just let nature take its course, don’t hold onto any hope; things are just that corrupt…

Real estate with Chinese characteristics…beans and dirt engineering, beans and dirt bricks, beans and dirt cement, beans and dirt…

[Seems like] it’s time to conduct a complete inspection of the quality of rebuilding in the Sichuan disaster area

We thoroughly agree with that last comment.

0 thoughts on “Bricks That Fall Apart in Your Hands”

  1. This is a litmus test for officialdom, if they fuck it up they will probably be in deep shit.

    The Sichuan Earthquake is an unassailable (to corrupt scumbags) humanitarian cause… Chinese nationalism is going to bite them in the ass.


  2. People often bitch about Americans being to litigious, but in this case I think civil lawsuits will do more good than any top-down approach to ending corruption. Make the settlement/judgment against these tofu-dregs so cost prohibitive, against the subcontractors, and the officials that rubber stamp them that it just makes economic sense to build better buildings.

    I am curious, aren’t there review websites in China that single out the corporations responsible for these projects? Why flesh-search people in charge after catastrophic failures when a Zagat-equivalent for construction companies can easily force these guys out of business?


  3. Its gonna be what, 50, 100 years before there’s another big one like that? In the meantime, I’m sure the more “patriotic” netizens will have convinced the world that this is a result of cultural differences between the east and west, and that just cause higher quality building materials work in the west, doesn’t mean they’re gonna work in China (duh!). Then everyone will probably start drowning the web about how actually, the shoddy bricks are better, and the rest of the world could learn from China by using them.

    This, of course, will be evidenced by the absence of a complete, total, structural failure of the shoddy construction materials which in turn is due to the lack of a major earthquake. Further evidence will be provided after the complete failure of said building materials does occur, by the fact that they are replaced with impressive speed (by more play-dough bricks). Then we start again.


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