Typhoon exposes 'tofu-dreg project' in E. China

Woman falls to her death after window rips off high-rise apartment near Wenzhou, China

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(Weibo photo)

(Weibo photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After Typhoon Hagupit hammered eastern China on Tuesday (Aug. 4), photos have surfaced showing an apartment building with parts of its exterior ripped clean off, which resulted in at least one death.

After northern Taiwan avoided a direct hit from Tropical Storm Hagupit on Monday (Aug. 3), the cyclone gained strength and became a full-fledged typhoon bearing straight for eastern China. At 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 4, it made landfall on the coast of Zhejiang Province and headed for the city of Wenzhou, known for its Tuhao (土豪, crass rich).

The torrential rain brought by the typhoon has caused serious flooding in many areas. Over 830,000 households in Wenzhou suffered power outages and serious damage, reported Harbin TV.


(Weibo photo)

Powerful winds reaching 12 on the Beaufort Scale unexpectedly exposed a "tofu-dreg project" (豆腐渣工程), which refers to the shoddy construction with substandard materials seen across the communist country. Photos on Weibo show many exterior walls and windows on an 18-story apartment in Yuhuan City, Taizhou stripped bare by Hagupit, as if they had been cut off with a knife.

Not only were many windows blown out, balcony railings stripped, and exterior walls shorn off, but in one case a washing machine was blown away by the hurricane-force winds. In some instances, living rooms are now completely exposed to the elements.

When a 62-year-old woman on the 11th floor tried to close one of her windows at around 3 a.m., the powerful winds blew it away. She was then dragged with the window and was sent hurtling 11 stories below to her death, according to the report.


(Weibo photo)

When photos of the damaged building surfaced on Weibo, Chinese netizens mocked the poor construction as it was originally billed a "high-end" residential complex. In early 2011, when some residents started moving in, they reportedly found that the building was leaning to one side and had to evacuate until structural repairs could be made.

In response to the window incident, Yuhuan City's public relations department released a statement that read, "The wind is really stronger than in previous years, which may have inflicted 'damage' to the homes. The fatal fall was the result of the resident not being careful when closing a window." As to whether there were problems with the quality of the apartments, the government agency stated that "it is advisable to consult with the relevant departments."


(Weibo photo)