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Rebuilt school torn down to make way for plaza

By Huang Zhiling (China Daily)

15:56, May 22, 2012

A school that had been rebuilt with financial aid from Hong Kong in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake was closed less than a year after it went into operation to make room for luxury buildings.

Responding to Internet outcry against the news, the Mianyang city government in Sichuan province said it was relocating the school to make it larger and better.

In a radio interview on May 18, Mak Chai-kwong, team leader of Sichuan reconstruction in the development bureau of the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said the money would need to be repaid.

The Mianyang Bauhinia Ethnic Secondary School was built with HK$4 million ($515,000) donated from the Hong Kong government and Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers.

The old school land is now designated for the construction of Wanda Plaza, which consists of residential buildings and stores by the Dalian Wanda Group, based in Liaoning province, said Chen Wen, an official with the Mianyang government information office.

A spokeswoman for Hong Kong's development bureau said on Monday that officials of the bureau and the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers had visited Mianyang earlier this month for talks on how to deal with the situation after learning that the school was to make way for real estate projects in the area.

The Mianyang government did not comment on whether the money would need to be repaid.

Formerly known as the Mianyang Ethnic Junior High School, the building was badly damaged in the Wenchuan earthquake in May 2008.

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