[current_date format=l,] [current_date]

Collapse of Middle School Gymnasium, a Harsh Reminder of the Dangers CCP’s Failing Infrastructure

On July 23, a middle school gymnasium collapsed in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, China. At the time, 19 people were inside, including 17 members of the girls’ volleyball team and two coaches. Four people managed to escape initially. 15 were trapped in the wreckage, and 11 died. According to BBC, one of the coaches could be heard screaming for the children when rescue workers rushed in. Middle School No. 34, located in the city of Qiqihar, became the focal point of what has become a predictable drama on the mainland. Videos of concerned parents were widely circulated on social media. One father claimed that he and the other parents of the victims had been waiting for 5 hours, and they hadn’t heard anything from the local government or

On July 23, a middle school gymnasium collapsed in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, China. At the time, 19 people were inside, including 17 members of the girls’ volleyball team and two coaches. Four people managed to escape initially. 15 were trapped in the wreckage, and 11 died. According to BBC, one of the coaches could be heard screaming for the children when rescue workers rushed in.

Middle School No. 34, located in the city of Qiqihar, became the focal point of what has become a predictable drama on the mainland. Videos of concerned parents were widely circulated on social media. One father claimed that he and the other parents of the victims had been waiting for 5 hours, and they hadn’t heard anything from the local government or the police.

“They tell me my daughter is gone but we never got to see the child,” he said. “All the children had their faces covered with mud and blood when they were sent to the hospital. I pleaded, please let me identify the child. What if that wasn’t my child?”

Other parents in the video voiced concerns about a lack of transparency. Those commenting online echoed the same sentiment, illustrating clear dissension. One angry commenter wrote, “Do people mean nothing to them?”

In times like these, the Chinese media can usually be relied upon to remain tightlipped, focusing instead on dog tricks and lost kittens while burying the most pertinent details. But building collapses strike a deep chord on the mainland, and the press has been extraordinarily candid about the matter. They knew exactly what was happening, and they were quick to point it out.

Changjiang Daily, Wuhan’s official newspaper, questioned whether the building might have been a tofu-dreg project, referring to notoriously flimsy construction projects found throughout the country. CQ News pointed out that the students had noticed construction materials on the roof of the gymnasium.

Among those supplies were piles of perlite, a highly absorbent volcanic glass that had been left there by a crew working on a nearby administrative building. It soaked up water from recent rainstorms until it became heavy enough to cause the roof to collapse.

The construction crew was detained, and the press spoke out. The Chinese Communist Party-owned newspaper, The Beijing News stated, “Only by truly respecting construction norms, respecting safety, and strengthening the supervision and management of the construction process can we avoid repeating the mistake.”

They didn’t mince words, and for good reason. This mistake has in fact been repeated many times throughout modern China’s history. The term “tofu-dreg” was first coined by Premier Zhu Rongji in 1998 when he was visiting flood dikes on the Yangtze River. He said that they were as porous as the dregs leftover from the tofu-making process. Dike collapses have taken a serious toll on the Chinese countryside, destroying entire communities. The problem dates back to Mao Zedong and his manic push for infrastructure. According to the Ministry of Water Resources, between 1954 to 2005, dikes have failed at no less than 3,486 reservoirs, largely due to poor construction and management.

Tofu-dreg projects are an everyday part of life in China. In fact, the problem has been so widespread and so deadly that it’s become obvious to the public at large that they are in danger.

Some of the most notable incidents occurred when a magnitude 8 earthquake struck the Sichuan province on May 12, 2008. The real numbers have been kept hidden, but it is estimated that during the initial tremor and the subsequent aftershock, more than 7,000 school classrooms collapsed; another 14,000 were left damaged. Well over 5,000 children died, along with more than 3,500 of their teachers. Even the Chinese propaganda machine couldn’t possibly have covered up a tragedy of that scale, especially when young children were involved.

Chinese civil engineers and citizens were quick to point out that many older buildings remained intact while schoolhouses were disproportionately affected. Liang Wei, who served in the Urban Planning and Design Research Institute at Tsinghua University wrote, “Buildings strictly built to the specifications of civil planning would not collapse during an earthquake. Any building that collapsed instantaneously must have failed to conform to civil planning standards. Either the design was unfit, or the engineering was unfit.”

In some areas, schools were the only buildings affected. The Chinese government ordered an investigation to quell the outcry, stating that anyone involved in shoddy construction would be held accountable.

Officials in the Education Ministry were accused of stealing from the school construction budget. This forced them to purchase subpar materials, which were then sold off to the contractors and builders. This is a common narrative repeated over a period of decades. Construction budgets are skimmed. Unqualified construction crews are granted contracts, and the people are left with dangerous, crumbling architecture with the potential to kill thousands.

The grieving parents whose children fell victim to this problem in 2008 were confronted with blatant corruption in the worst way imaginable.

In an effort to prevent protest demonstrations, parents were asked to sign waivers stating that they would not hold rallies, offering them varying amounts of money if they agreed. Those who refused were threatened. Many chose to speak out regardless.

Heartbroken and angry, parents blocked major roads, swarmed school buildings, and wailed as they were dragged off by police. Roughly five miles south of Beichuan, 200 parents blocked the only local road, furious because the police were refusing to take action against the vandal who destroyed a plaque they had put up, memorializing the lost students.

To many, the events that occurred after the earthquake added flat-out insult to injury. Grieving parents were hauled off to jail, often in secret, along with the teachers. . After the roadblock had dispersed, a group of 20 volunteers were quietly rounded up after they went to attend a planned memorial at Beichuan Middle School. They were hauled off to a police station at Wenchang.

When questioned about the matter, the police refused to admit what happened. Those in mourning were concerned because there didn’t seem to be any legal grounds for the arrests. Chen Yan, a volunteer from Cheng Du gave a statement saying, “I told them they had no right to keep them because they did not disturb the social order and they were not the members of illegal organizations, and the memorial activities were not illegal.”

It’s difficult to imagine parents being rounded up for trying to grieve their lost children. Some felt like they had nothing left. Wang Ping, whose daughter was killed in the Beichuan Middle School collapse made her feelings clear. ‘‘I’m 40. All our hopes were in our children. Now they’re dead. Our future is dead, too.’’

Even in a country like China, where censorship controls the discourse inside and outside of the press, news of a catastrophe of this scale spreads. The 2008 Sichuan earthquake was seen as the final straw. People were well-aware of the dangers of the country’s subpar construction practices long before this. But they couldn’t live with what happened. Something needed to be done. It did become the source of a national debate, but very few changes were made.

On a smaller scale, contractors in certain areas have learned their lesson. They do believe in reinforcing their structures, and many do take the time to ensure that construction regulations are met. But on a larger scale, very little has been done. There are still unresolved systemic issues. Tofu-dreg projects and poor construction practices are still unfortunately part of daily life. The accident at Middle School No. 34 is a tragic reminder of that.


More on this topic

More Stories

Refreshing and Insights
at No Cost to You!

Cancel anytime

Latest Articles

Leave a Reply


Top Products

Contact us

Wherever & whenever you are,
we are here always.

The Middle Land

100 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 700 Santa Monica, CA 90401
Footer Contact

To Editor

Terms and Conditions

October, 2023

Using our website

You may use the The Middle Land website subject to the Terms and Conditions set out on this page. Visit this page regularly to check the latest Terms and Conditions. Access and use of this site constitutes your acceptance of the Terms and Conditions in-force at the time of use.

Intellectual property

Names, images and logos displayed on this site that identify The Middle Land are the intellectual property of New San Cai Inc. Copying any of this material is not permitted without prior written approval from the owner of the relevant intellectual property rights.

Requests for such approval should be directed to the competition committee.

Please provide details of your intended use of the relevant material and include your contact details including name, address, telephone number, fax number and email.

Linking policy

You do not have to ask permission to link directly to pages hosted on this website. However, we do not permit our pages to be loaded directly into frames on your website. Our pages must load into the user’s entire window.

The Middle Land is not responsible for the contents or reliability of any site to which it is hyperlinked and does not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them. Linking to or from this site should not be taken as endorsement of any kind. We cannot guarantee that these links will work all the time and have no control over the availability of the linked pages.


All information, data, text, graphics or any other materials whatsoever uploaded or transmitted by you is your sole responsibility. This means that you are entirely responsible for all content you upload, post, email or otherwise transmit to the The Middle Land website.

Virus protection

We make every effort to check and test material at all stages of production. It is always recommended to run an anti-virus program on all material downloaded from the Internet. We cannot accept any responsibility for any loss, disruption or damage to your data or computer system, which may occur while using material derived from this website.


The website is provided ‘as is’, without any representation or endorsement made, and without warranty of any kind whether express or implied.

Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It is your responsibility to ensure any products, services or information available through this website meet your specific requirements.

We do not warrant the operation of this site will be uninterrupted or error free, that defects will be corrected, or that this site or the server that makes it available are free of viruses or represent the full functionality, accuracy and reliability of the materials. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including, without limitation, loss of profits, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damages whatsoever arising from the use, or loss of data, arising out of – or in connection with – the use of this website.

Privacy & Cookie Policy

October, 2023

Last Updated: October 1, 2023

New San Cai Inc. (hereinafter “The Middle Land,” “we,” “us,” or “our”) owns and operates www.themiddleland.com, its affiliated websites and applications (our “Sites”), and provides related products, services, newsletters, and other offerings (together with the Sites, our “Services”) to art lovers and visitors around the world.

This Privacy Policy (the “Policy”) is intended to provide you with information on how we collect, use, and share your personal data. We process personal data from visitors of our Sites, users of our Services, readers or bloggers (collectively, “you” or “your”). Personal data is any information about you. This Policy also describes your choices regarding use, access, and correction of your personal information.

If after reading this Policy you have additional questions or would like further information, please contact us.


We collect and process personal data only for lawful reasons, such as our legitimate business interests, your consent, or to fulfill our legal or contractual obligations.

Information You Provide to Us

Most of the information Join Talents collects is provided by you voluntarily while using our Services. We do not request highly sensitive data, such as health or medical information, racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, etc. and we ask that you refrain from sending us any such information.

Here are the types of personal data that you voluntarily provide to us:

  • Name, email address, and any other contact information that you provide by filling out your profile forms
  • Billing information, such as credit card number and billing address
  • Work or professional information, such as your company or job title
  • Unique identifiers, such as username or password
  • Demographic information, such as age, education, interests, and ZIP code
  • Details of transactions and preferences from your use of the Services
  • Correspondence with other users or business that you send through our Services, as well as correspondence sent to JoinTalents.com

As a registered users or customers, you may ask us to review or retrieve emails sent to your business. We will access these emails to provide these services for you.

We use the personal data you provide to us for the following business purposes:

  • Set up and administer your account
  • Provide and improve the Services, including displaying content based on your previous transactions and preferences
  • Answer your inquiries and provide customer service
  • Send you marketing communications about our Services, including our newsletters (please see the Your Rights/Opt Out section below for how to opt out of marketing communications)
  • Communicate with users who registered their accounts on our site
  • Prevent, discover, and investigate fraud, criminal activity, or violations of our Terms and Conditions
  • Administer contests and events you entered

Information Obtained from Third-Party Sources

We collect and publish biographical and other information about users, which we use to promote the articles and our bloggers  who use our sites. If you provide personal information about others, or if others give us your information, we will only use that information for the specific reason for which it was provided.

Information We Collect by Automated Means

Log Files

The site uses your IP address to help diagnose server problems, and to administer our website. We use your IP addresses to analyze trends and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use.

Every time you access our Site, some data is temporarily stored and processed in a log file, such as your IP addresses, the browser types, the operating systems, the recalled page, or the date and time of the recall. This data is only evaluated for statistical purposes, such as to help us diagnose problems with our servers, to administer our sites, or to improve our Services.

Do Not Track

Your browser or device may include “Do Not Track” functionality. Our information collection and disclosure practices, and the choices that we provide to customers, will continue to operate as described in this Privacy Policy, whether or not a “Do Not Track” signal is received.


We may share your personal data with third parties only in the ways that are described in this Privacy Policy. We do not sell, rent, or lease your personal data to third parties, and We does not transfer your personal data to third parties for their direct marketing purposes.

We may share your personal data with third parties as follows:

  • With service providers under contract to help provide the Services and assist us with our business operations (such as our direct marketing, payment processing, fraud investigations, bill collection, affiliate and rewards programs)
  • As required by law, such as to comply with a subpoena, or similar legal process, including to meet national security or law enforcement requirements
  • When we believe in good faith that disclosure is necessary to protect rights or safety, investigate fraud, or respond to a government request
  • With other users of the Services that you interact with to help you complete a transaction

There may be other instances where we share your personal data with third parties based on your consent.


We retain your information for as long as your account is active or as needed to provide you Services. If you wish to cancel your account or request that we no longer use your personal data, contact us. We will retain and use your personal data as necessary to comply with legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements.

All you and our data are stored in the server in the United States, we do not sales or transfer your personal data to the third party. All information you provide is stored on a secure server, and we generally accepted industry standards to protect the personal data we process both during transmission and once received.


You may correct, update, amend, delete/remove, or deactivate your account and personal data by making the change on your Blog on www.themiddleland.com or by emailing our customer service. We will respond to your request within a reasonable timeframe.

You may choose to stop receiving Join Talents newsletters or marketing emails at any time by following the unsubscribe instructions included in those communications, or you can contact us.


The Middle Land include links to other websites whose privacy practices may differ from that of ours. If you submit personal data to any of those sites, your information is governed by their privacy statements. We encourage you to carefully read the Privacy Policy of any website you visit.


Our Services are not intended for use by children, and we do not knowingly or intentionally solicit data from or market to children under the age of 18. We reserve the right to delete the child’s information and the child’s registration on the Sites.


We may update this Privacy Policy to reflect changes to our personal data processing practices. If any material changes are made, we will notify you on the Sites prior to the change becoming effective. You are encouraged to periodically review this Policy.


If you have any questions about our Privacy Policy, please contact customer service or send us mail at:

The Middle Land/New San Cai
100 Wilshire Blvd., 7th Floor
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Article Submission


Are you sure? Do you want to logout of the account?

New Programs Added to Your Plan

March 2, 2023

The Michelin brothers created the guide, which included information like maps, car mechanics listings, hotels and petrol stations across France to spur demand.

The guide began to award stars to fine dining restaurants in 1926.

At first, they offered just one star, the concept was expanded in 1931 to include one, two and three stars. One star establishments represent a “very good restaurant in its category”. Two honour “excellent cooking, worth a detour” and three reward “exceptional cuisine, worth a


February 28, 2023        Hiring Journalists all hands apply

January 18, 2023          Hiring Journalists all hands apply


Leave a Reply

Forgot Password ?

Please enter your email id or user name to
recover your password

Thank you for your participation!
Back to Home
Thank you for your subscription!
Please check your email to activate your account.
Back to Home
Thank you for your participation!
Please check your email for the results.
Back to Home

Login to Vote!

Thank you for your participation,
please Log in or Sign up to Vote

Thank you for your Comment

Back to Home

Reply To:

New Programs Added to Your Plan

Login Now

123Sign in to your account