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Manqing Cang

Three Dead From Bridge Collapse, Netizens Blame Construction Quality

Three were killed and five injured early Friday morning (Aug 24, 2012) at about 5:30 AM by the collapse of the Yangmingtan Bridge in Harbin, the capital of northeastern Heilongjiang Province. The collapsed part, which measures 100 meters in length, fell from a height of some 30 meters above ground, bringing down four trucks with it.

The ramp to Yangmingtan Bridge

Netizens Skeptical About Construction

The incident caught the eyes of the public in no time. On Weibo, the Chinese Twitter, most users jumped directly into a discussion on possible causes of the collapse, and most fingers were pointed straight at the construction company and the officials on duty supervising them.

Since Yangmingtan Bridge was only opened to traffic last November, netizens find the collapse inexplicable if not for the reason of shoddy construction. Most Weibo users used black humor in expressing their views on the accident. @立冬微博 posted: “Put into use less than a year…costing 1.88 billion yuan ($296 million US dollar), highest flood control capacity in 300 years – 300 years passed so fast!”@ Cars0n_C joked: “Yangmintan Bridge collapsed at dawn, I guess the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl were from Harbin.” Even better was the mockery by @自私鬼让你生病了 “Reason of collapse: overload, sustained influence of invisible typhoon, extreme temperature difference between morning and night, improper maintenance by sanitation workers, monster attack, etc. but low quality of construction is absolutely not the reason.”

There are of course more explicit Weibo posts blaming the shoddy construction and irresponsible officials and departments. @怀自杰律师 says, “I’m shocked again. Shoddy construction’s everywhere, and no department, no institute, no nothing to provide guidance or to supervise.” From over 50 million Weibo posts under the topic of the collapse it is inevitable to notice that netizens are eagerly waiting for an official explanation of the accident.

Harbin Government: Can’t Find Party at Fault

Harbin’s local government, curiously, didn’t seem to take this eagerness serious enough. Sina News reported later Friday night that the Construction Committee of Harbin City claimed finding the party at fault of the collapsed ramp is impossible since the construction headquarter of the Yangmingtan Bridge was dismissed.

There is no doubt Chinese netizens will not buy that. Sooner or later, someone will have to conduct a thorough investigation and give a clear explanation. @我爱猪小妞 dug out past TV reports on the construction of Yangmingtan and posted screenshots of related personnel:” [Construction party found!] Hey Harbin Construction Committee! I did you a favor! Here’s personnel related to the construction of Yangmingtan: Yang Qingwei (杨青卫), Jin Linsheng (靳麟生) and Wu Xiangyang (吴向阳). What do you say now?” 

The three construction related personnel netizens called out by name, looking triumphant at the grand opening of the bridge

 

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Manqing Cang

Manqing is a senior at Smith College studying Philosophy.