- - Thursday, June 13, 2013


At least 15 Chinese were worked to death in response to leaders’ orders to finish refurbishing the Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier. A senior military engineer revealed the deaths in noting that the work was finished far ahead of schedule.

Wang Zhiguo, a systems engineer for the Liaoning project, disclosed the deaths in discussing statistics on the refurbishment in the May 31 online edition of China Youth Daily.

“The refurbishing project involved too much work to be done and we were given a very tight deadline, which caused the deaths of my colleagues,” Mr. Wang said, expressing anguish over the loss.

He elaborated that the order came from Beijing that the carrier must be rebuilt in 30 months. But the home port for the carrier’s Ukraine-built shell was at Dalian in frigid northeastern China.

“We encountered the coldest freeze in 50 years, and many civic engineering projects involving the refurbishment were greatly affected by the cold weather, wasting a lot of time,” Mr. Wang said.

In the end, political leaders in Beijing refused to yield on extending the deadline, and all work was completed in 15 months.

The Liaoning was commissioned in September. Top leaders, including President Hu Jintao, attended the event and delivered commissar-style speeches.

The Liaoning was left to conduct tests and repairs. On Nov. 25, Luo Yang, the 51-year-old project manager in charge of the Liaoning’s aviation capability, had a massive heart attack aboard the ship and died soon afterward. The Chinese Communist Party Central Committee made Mr. Luo a national martyr and a model worker to be emulated.

No other deaths resulting from excessive work were announced before Mr. Wang’s interview.

China is known for making draconian demands on its people to achieve political objectives.

The most infamous was Mao Zedong’s “great leap forward” during the late 1950s, when Mao demanded that the entire nation catch up to levels of industrial output with Great Britain within 15 years. As a result, at least 35 million people starved to death as the result of a man-made famine.


The People’s Daily, the official organ of the Communist Party, ridiculed Japan in a long article published in its June 11 overseas edition. The newspaper noted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s lukewarm reception by the Americans, comparing it to the red-carpet reception for Chinese President Xi Jinping by President Obama at last week’s summit in California.

“Abe’s visit to the U.S. received only a lunch reception; Japan is jealous of China-U.S. warm-up” was how the People’s Daily subsidiary, Global Times, put it.

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