China Admits Quake-Hit Schools Were Poorly Built

But government warns parents to silence criticism
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2008 11:30 AM CDT
A Chinese woman weeps as she holds a portrait of a child who died when the Juyuan middle school was collapsed in the May 12 earthquake in Juyuan.    (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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(Newser) – A Chinese official admitted today that shoddy construction led to the collapse of some schools during last May’s earthquake, which killed thousands of children. “The structures were not necessarily reasonable and the materials were not necessarily strong enough,” the chairman of the government’s quake probe conceded, reports the BBC.

"There were possibly some construction problems because we have built schools relatively quickly in recent times," Ma Zongjin said. But parents who have demanded that those responsible be punished will likely be disappointed; Ma said the investigation is intended to improve standards, not find culprits. Parents have been pressured by government officials to grieve and fume in silence.