Dongguan bosses live the high life in city’s “Zhongnanhai”

Maybe credit Sina Weibo, or perhaps inflation, or a citizenry that is becoming much more socially active. Whatever it is, it seems an increasing number of scandals are breaking these days, many of them right here in the PRD.

While the past few days have seen sex scandals and riots rocking the PRD, another has caught the attention of PRD residents and the big wigs up in Beijing: elaborate villas in Dongguan allegedly built with ill-gotten funds by corrupt local officials.

The China Daily reports there are six seven-story villas built on a hillside in Tangxia District overlooking a reservoir, which are a convenient five-minute drive from government offices.  Locals call it Dongguan’s Zhongnanhai, which is the government compound in Beijing.  Many of the villas were built in the late 1990s and reportedly changed hands for as little as 500 yuan per square metre.

“But commercial land nearby changed hands at an average of 15,000 yuan a sq m at that time,” said [an] official.

Villas are now being sold at an average of more than 20,000 yuan a sq m in Tangxia, according to local property agents.

“Many officials spent less than 1 million yuan on building a villa, including luxury interior decoration. And now each villa is valued at more than 10 million yuan by many property agents,” he added.

No Party or government officials from Tangxia commented on the case on Tuesday.

Maybe the most encouraging part in all of these incidents is the increasing insistence among local residence for fairness and honesty from their leaders.  Also from the China Daily:

Liang Honglie, a white-collar worker in Guangzhou, said it has gone too far when officials, who call themselves “servants of the people”, live in luxury villas.

“The relevant department should fully investigate the case and reveal its findings,” he told China Daily. “Those who are found to have broken laws and regulations should be punished severely.”

Chen Qingde, a migrant worker from Hunan province, said officials should think more about improving workers’ conditions instead of abusing their power and position for personal gain.

“Many migrant workers are still living in shabby houses in Tangxia,” Chen said. “In some migrant workers’ dormitories, 10 to 20 people have to share a room that measures 20 to 30 sq m.”

Dongguan has launched an investigation into the case.

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