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Deadly Windstorm in China’s Jiangxi Province Exposes Major Corruption Scandal

Alina Wang
A native of New York, Alina has a Bachelors degree in Corporate Communications from Baruch College and writes about human rights, politics, tech, and society.
Published: April 2, 2024
The storm, which struck China's southeastern city of Nanchang in Jiangxi Province, was so powerful that it claimed four lives and injured at least 10 others. The storm also ripped three victims out of their apartments. (Image: Screenshot via Chinese social media)

In the early hours of March 31, a devastating windstorm struck Nanchang, a city located in China’s southeastern province of Jiangxi. The storm’s force was so powerful that it claimed four lives and injured at least 10 others.

Three of the victims had been blown clear out of their apartments when their windows were destroyed by the gale, which also uprooted more than 1,600 trees in the area.

But now as Nanchang reels from the aftermath of the storm, the tragic incident has exposed what is being described as the “largest corruption case” in Jiangxi Province.

The storm not only highlighted the vulnerabilities in the city’s infrastructure but also drew attention to widespread corruption plaguing Nanchang’s construction and urban developments.

Building integrity in question

The storm’s winds were so intense that they not only shattered windows and knocked down power lines but also dislodged frames, swept away household items, and even knocked out structural components like stainless steel brackets embedded in walls.

Amid the chaos and destruction, community members began to question the quality of their buildings’ construction. The sheer force of the wind blowing out windows and doors led to a public outcry over building standards — with many pointing to “inferior quality materials” and construction practices as contributing factors to the extent of the damage. 

Among the deceased were a grandmother and her 11-year-old grandson who were swept away by the storm while sleeping in their home. Another victim, a 60-year-old resident of the 11th floor, met a similar fate.

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The incident also shed light on longstanding grievances about the safety and integrity of housing developments in the area.

Further investigation into the aftermath of the storm brought to attention the Wei Meng Qing Shui Bay residential complex, where the victims lived. The development, which was built by Nanchang Haojia Industry Co., Ltd, part of the Wei Meng Group, was completed in 2015. Over the years, numerous complaints had been lodged against the quality of construction and materials used in the building.

According to local reports, residents of the complex had repeatedly raised concerns regarding the construction quality and safety standards of their homes. The grievances ranged from minor issues like poor finishing and leaks to severe safety hazards — including cracks in structural walls — to windows and balconies that could not withstand high winds. 

A tangled web of lies

The spotlight on Wei Meng Qing Shui Bay and its developer revealed a tangled web of questionable construction practices, bogus safety standards, bribery, and corruption. 

Wei Meng Group, a prominent local enterprise with a diversified portfolio including real estate and mining, was founded by Li Mengping. Li — and by extension the Wei Meng Group — has been implicated in a significant corruption case, with Li Mengping serving a prison sentence for bribery. 

The case, which was part of a larger crackdown on corruption in Jiangxi, highlighted widespread bribery and corruption across various government contracts and development projects. The windstorm in Nanchang also prompted an examination of the Wei Meng Group’s building permits and inspection records. 


Moreover, the Chinese central government has been waging a high-profile “anti-corruption” campaign for years now by targeting corrupt officials at all levels of government. Though the campaign has led to several high-profile arrests and prosecutions, the practice of bribery and corruption continues to run rampant across various sectors.

China’s current economic landscape is marred by rigid deflationary pressures, worsening property and banking crises, and weak domestic demand — all of which are hampering economic activity and investor confidence. 

Corruption running rampant

As the city of Nanchang begins to recover from the physical damage wrought by the storm, the revelations of corruption have ignited a broader discourse on accountability, transparency, and the need for rigorous enforcement of building codes and standards. 

According to a study by the Chicago Booth Review, China’s rapid growth and urbanization, which was fueled by a booming real estate market and sizable infrastructure investments, has created various opportunities for corrupt practices. These include bribery, misappropriation of public funds, and collusion between government officials and business entities to secure contracts and approvals for projects without due regard for legal and regulatory requirements.

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“Private firms succeed in China by obtaining a special deal from a local political leader, which allows them to either break the formal rules or obtain favorable access to resources. This practice is common in countries with poor formal institutions, and China is no different,” the study finds. 

In response to the disaster and the public outcry it has generated, there have been calls for a thorough investigation not just into the specific incidents at the Wei Meng Qing Shui Bay complex but into the practices of the Wei Meng Group and its affiliates as a whole.

This would include scrutiny of the building permits, inspection records, and the materials used in construction. There is also a growing demand for accountability, with residents and observers alike insisting that those found responsible for negligence or corruption be held to account.

With reporting by Li Xiaokui, Vision Times Staff.