The Toike’s crack team of investigators has uncovered a conspiracy about the structural failure of a hydroelectric power plant in China.
The Five Gullies Dam was a two-year, ￥15 billion construction project that the state government promised would create jobs and a cleaner future for China. The outcome, however, was far from ideal.
Our East Asia correspondent Lee Qi led the investigation. “It was hard to obtain concrete evidence,” she noted. “If only China could build everything as strong as the Great Firewall.”
Ms. Qi told us that the first cracks appeared when project managers were forced to speed up construction. “It really put our workers under pressure,” explained one foreman. “Fortunately we had a large flow volume of migrant workers to counteract the high turnover.” He coughed and asked for reassurance of anonymity before spilling, “A big blow came from the demand to reduce our material costs. We had to build the dam as hollow as the government’s promises.”
The problems did not end after construction. Observers from nearby displaced villages said that the reservoir lake’s surface was covered with a thick layer of garbage, so it comes as no surprise that the operators could not see that the dam would burst at any moment.
When the truth was leaked online, the international community ruptured in outrage at the cover up. Despite its best efforts to muddy the waters, the central government was flooded with inquiries from concerned citizens and Western media outlets. Donations poured in to support disaster relief efforts in the area.
The Dutch consulting team for the project has also been implicated in the scandal. They have denied any involvement, despite the abundance of damming evidence. “We were in the dark, especially in the massive power outage that followed the failure. If only we’d been paid enough to afford a sat phone.”
Ms. Qi managed to reach Hui Zhao, a state spokesperson, on the issue. “The damage control for this PR – erm, engineering problem has been costly. We have been hemorrhaging liquid assets to pay for the clean up. But no cost is too great when it comes to increasing our national power.”
At the time of publication, the official death toll released by the Chinese government has reached negative two.