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Nine officials punished over illegal dike businesses

By Cang Wei in Nanjing | China Daily | Updated: 2020-07-30 09:26


Nine officials who were responsible for the illegal construction of several restaurants and bars built inside a dike on a main river in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, have been dismissed or given administrative or Party penalties, according to the city's disciplinary watchdog.

Xu Shixin, president and Party secretary of Jiangning Urban Construction Group, a State-owned company that constructed the illegal establishments in 2012, was dismissed from both posts and given a disciplinary warning from the Party.

Two other officials from the group, including general manager Qiao Hongjie and deputy general manager Guo Linhua, were given severe disciplinary warnings from the Party.

The other six officials, who worked at the local water resources bureau and Dongshan community in Nanjing's Jiangning district, were also punished for failing to supervise the safety of the dike, according to the district's commission for discipline inspection and the supervisory commission.

On Sunday, the Jiangning district government demolished the five restaurants and bars built inside one of the dikes on the Qinhuai River. Some of Nanjing's local media reported the illegal constructions as early as 2014.

Located near Yangjiawei Park of Jiangning district, the illegal businesses were built into holes that were about 12 meters deep and 3 meters high on the side of the dike that does not face the water.

The Qinhuai, which runs through the main districts of Nanjing, is a tributary on the right bank of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Earlier this month, the local government raised the emergency response for flood control of the Qinhuai to the highest level due to heavy rains and large flows from the Yangtze.

"We're following the advice of experts to refill the holes inside the dike," said Chang Min, who works for the construction group. "The district and the group consulted experts about the safety of the dike immediately after the problem was reported by media during the weekend."

According to Chang, the holes have been filled and the dike had almost been restored to its original appearance by Wednesday.

The restaurants and bars had been operating for at least six years. Constructed in 2012, one hole measuring about 1,000 square meters was used by the group as a dike patrol management site in 2013.

The rest, measuring about 3,500 square meters in total, was rented out to the restaurants and bar operators. Each of them paid nearly 500,000 yuan ($71,400) to the group every year.

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