Shandong Company Closed Over School’s ‘Fake Cement’ Claim
Authorities in eastern China’s Shandong province have shut down a local manufacturing company for allegedly producing substandard cement used to construct a school dormitory in a neighboring province, Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper reported Wednesday.
The market supervision bureau of Taierzhuang District in the city of Zaozhuang issued a suspension order against the company that manufactured the cement after a private school’s principal filed a complaint over the 25 tons of allegedly low-quality construction material. The Zhicheng Experimental School in Henan province’s Luyi County had procured the cement through a third-party vendor to provide to builders working on the project.
Zhang Guangqi, the school’s principal, told the China Youth Daily newspaper that the quality of the cement from Zaozhuang Pengyuan Building Materials Co. Ltd. was so poor that the plastered surfaces could be easily crushed. “Fortunately, the ‘fake cement’ was discovered early on,” he said in the interview. “It would have been too late if we had discovered it after the students had moved in, or after an accident.”
Before the school filed a complaint to the district-level market supervision bureau in Shandong — where the company’s cement factory is located — it had also reported the case to a lower county-level bureau in Henan in April, nearly a month after it found the construction material too weak to hold the foundation of the planned four-story dormitory.
Shoddy construction materials in schools have made headlines recently, raising public concerns over potential health and safety hazards for students. In January, hundreds of students at a primary school in the eastern Zhejiang province suffered from nosebleeds and swollen lymph nodes after the school completed construction of a running track later found to be emitting toxic fumes. On Wednesday, a local court accepted a case from a nonprofit suing the school and the two companies responsible for the track’s construction.
Zhang said Zhicheng Experimental School is demanding over 300,000 yuan ($43,700) in compensation from the cement company for not meeting a July 15 deadline, according to China Youth Daily. About 960 students, most of them so-called left-behind children, were scheduled to move into their new dorms in September. The private school with over 1,700 students had reportedly borrowed and raised more than 3 million yuan for the project.
Yang Tingyi, a representative from Zaozhuang Pengyuan Building Materials, told China Youth Daily in a separate report Wednesday that the company will apply for a review of an official inspection that had deemed the cement “weak and unqualified.”
“The cement from our factory will never have problems,” Yang said. “It’s 100% certain to be qualified.”
Meanwhile, the Taierzhuang District market supervision bureau said that it has shut down the Shandong cement factory’s production facilities and is investigating staff. The bureau has also submitted samples of the material for further quality control checks.
Editor: Bibek Bhandari.
(Header image: VCG)