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Public outrage over 1.5-million-yuan state toilets

THERE is public outrage over the cost of nearly 1.5 million yuan (US$220,000) to build three toilets in a state conference center in Beijing.

The project came to light when details of bidding for the project was published on the Ministry of Finance's Website on Tuesday, yesterday's Oriental Morning Post reported. The announcement was dated February 23 and the project has been completed.

Government officials said the public was overreacting. "The cost is higher than ordinary decoration projects as this project is not a simple interior decoration project on existing toilets," an unnamed official with the outsourcing unit of the National People's Congress told the newspaper.

More construction was required as the rooms did not house toilets beforehand and a sewerage system had to be installed, he explained.

The center serves as a prime conference and banquet venue for NPC, government departments, the army and businesses.

A center staff member confirmed to the newspaper that the three toilets were built earlier this year.

He said the 1.5-million-yuan cost was fair for the level of luxury at the center. For example, the hall's 56 lamps - representing China's 56 ethnic nationalities - were made up of 960,000 crystal balls.

China Decoration Co Ltd, which won the bid for the construction project, said expensive materials made the cost of the project high.

"The cost for marble, for example, is much higher than normal tiles," explained an unnamed official with the company.

But even that cost, industry insiders agreed, was higher than normal, the report said.


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