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Scandal behind subway cables calls for further probe for corruption

China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-23 08:00

EIGHT MEMBERS OF STAFF at Shaanxi Aokai Cable Co in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi province, have been detained for their involvement in providing substandard electric cables for the city's subway system. Beijing News commented on Wednesday:

Founded in late 2012, Shaanxi Aokai Cable Co beat six other bidders to win the competition to supply cables for the city's third subway line. The line was put into use in November and carried about 345,000 passengers on the first day of operation.

Although the safety of the line and its operations have reportedly not been affected, the subway company conducted an investigation and confirmed the cables were substandard after receiving a tip-off that the cables failed to meet industry standards.

This is not the first time the company's cables have proved to be substandard. Between Oct 12, 2015, and Nov 17, last year, the bureau of quality and technical supervision in Xi'an conducted four quality inspections of the cables to be used for the line, sampling six batches of cables provided by Shaanxi Aokai Cable Co. Three of the examinations found the cables supplied were below the required standard, and one found that the company forged a report to vouch for the quality of its products.

Yet despite the ensuing administrative punishments, the company has still managed to keep providing faulty cables for the Xi'an subway system and even extended its business to Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province. It is only fair to assume some rent-seeking was involved in the cable manufacturer's success in winning the tenders for these projects.

The company has now been shut down and its production lines closed, but its clients are all over the country. That requires quality inspection officials at all levels to make sure that all its cables are traced and inspected to see if they are up to scratch as soon as possible.

Further investigations should also be made to uncover those involved in the power-for-money chain that enabled the company to provide defective products. These rent-seekers who feasted on public money at the risk of compromising people's safety must be held accountable.

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