Building demolished in Changzhou


Originally published at:


They didn’t even clear the street in front of traffic. Chutzpah, or lack of concern, or poor planning…who knows?


Or maybe just the building being unpredictable. It’s not like Western demolition experts don’t occasionally make mistakes. I’m sure I could find some video of Western demo guys looking like they don’t have an “appreciation of modern public safety standards”.

As it is, the building was clearly meant to fall entirely within the large space to the right in the first video, and mostly did. What debris flew over the fence to the left and made it to the road looked pretty light to my eye.


Um, seems legit.


Well I certainly couldn’t evaluate their safety standards from 20 seconds of video. I guess my engineering-fu is weak.


Please don’t insult us with this type of misdirection nonsense. Do we seem like the sort of people who, when Putin says, “What?! It’s not like there is never corruption in the West”, nod thoughtfully and say, “ah, well carry on then”? Does that seem like the crowd here at Boing Boing?


In my experience, concern for public health and safety, environmental protection, and worker protections are all significantly less in China compared to the west. Rapacious capitalism and a government that generally follows a ‘might makes right’ philosophy contribute to the prevailing attitudes.


Hah, in that last video… I don’t think they even closed the gate on the blue fence!


In Austin, TX there was a planned implosion downtown in (if I remember correctly) 2005 or 2006? I guess the building held up so well that instead of collapsing, it just leaned over a bit.

Around the same time, a few blocks away (about two blocks from 6th Street’s Driskill Hotel), I arrived to a building demolition in progress using Caterpillar machines. Apparently, the wall was meant to be pushed inwards, but instead collapsed outwards - right onto three vehicles in the parking lane. You would think they should have towed them away first…


This angle gives an excellent impression of the local government’s appreciation of modern public safety standards

I object strenuously to this characterization. This is Big Government getting out of the way of business, letting the invisible hand of a market economy to be at play here. If, as has been alleged, the business developers do a less than acceptable job demolishing the building, then that will be reflected in their realized profit. If, for example, shrapnel from the building demolition or the building itself falls on cars or passersby, those people, or rather decedents, will lose the ability to purchase goods and services from the building developers.

That was insane. They obviously planned the demolition for it fall away from the road, but still-- they cant even halt traffic for the detonation itself? It’s stunning they didn’t clear/secure all areas within the footprint of a potential building collapse in all directions (not just the planned collapse area). This perhaps empirically shows how weak their system of tort law must be. There’s no downside (no one can sue), so why particularly bother with safety stuff?



From what I’ve read, local governments in China tend to protect big local businesses from central government interference and other annoyances such as inconvenient laws, because they create jobs and bring economic growth. And because their bosses all play golf with and/or pay bungs to the local Party bigwigs.

Poorer provinces actively attract highly polluting industries by offering lax enforcement in return for jobs and investment.


In other words, we have preconcieved notions before we ever saw this video and we’ll just file it with the rest. :expressionless:

Anyway, I don’t really think this video alone says a lot about corruption, or whatever, unless the point being made is that these people got away with it. This video is appearing on the English facing version of the People’s Daily, which is the state newspaper in China, so the implication seems to be that the central government is aware and comfortable with it being available to an international audience. There’s a number of possibilities you can potentially read into that: it could just be a faux pas from the editors - a China Strong story gone wrong, or these constructors/local officials are going to get made an object lesson for central government to wade in.

It’s a shame that we rarely follow up on these stories.


What’s this “us” you are talking about?
You don’t agree? Fine. Just as long as you speak for yourself.


Exactly, whenever I see stories about half-assed construction or public safety or demolitions in China, I think about how much red tape folks have to go through in my city just to do something like repair a flight of stairs or add a garage: public hearings, multiple permits, inspections, etc. It’s bonkers. I can only imagine the levels of bureaucracy involved in doing construction in a Communist country. The prevailing attitude seems to be “well, let’s just do it, and hope we get away with it, because otherwise it’ll be months before we get anything done.”


It’s more like, ‘is everyone paid off who needs to be paid off so we can get on with this?’


Quite a lot of that goes on here, too; I know a local restaurant that waited six months for their final inspections, and when an inspector noted that a door was a few inches too close to a heat source or something, they told them they could pay a ‘one time fine’ and promise to take care of it to pass inspection, or they’d have to schedule a follow-up in three months before they’d be allowed to open.


I don’t think this video illustrates anything very deep, more just the typical carelessness and indifference to consequences to ‘others’ that goes along with getting things done in China.


I love the sound it made though – like a million Mahjong tiles falling


Then explain why the mouthpiece of central government is broadcasting it at an international audience? It’s not a matter of depth, the point is there’s a subtext here.


Trying to read the tea leaves on the deeper meaning of what the Chinese government promotes, allows, and suppresses is beyond my ken.