China building scandal brings further shame to embattled Communists
Published 14/09/2013 | 05:00
It is the biggest building in the world – 16 Wembley stadiums could fit underneath its vast roof.
But the New Century Global Centre, a behemoth in the central city of Chengdu which formally opened at the end of last month, has instantly become China's largest and most embarrassing monument to the allegations of corruption that have wormed through the Communist Party.
The 50-year-old billionaire behind the project, Deng Hong, once one of China's richest men, has vanished and is thought to be in police custody.
"We don't know where he is," a spokesman for his company, Entertainment and Travel Group said.
In his wake, more than 50 government officials have been detained by a series of overlapping investigations that reach to the highest level of the party, according to a former editor of a state newspaper.
"There are more investigations, and more arrests, to come," the editor added.
In Chengdu there is little outward sign of the investigations that have sliced through the local government.
The undulating silhouette of the New Century Global Centre is pictured on the side of the airport shuttle bus, with the slogan: "Better quality, integrity, honesty," written above.
Among the offerings inside is a shopping centre of four million square feet, a convention centre, a university campus, an Intercontinental hotel, a pirate ship, a skating rink, an Imax cinema and a 54,000sq ft artificial beach, flanked by a 500ft LED screen that is roughly the same height as the Statue of Liberty and displays tropical sunsets to swimmers.
Sources in Chengdu suggested that the building might soon be taken over by the government and that Mr Deng would be lucky to escape prison. (© Daily Telegraph, London)