Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Exploding manhole covers Show how China's construction just doesn't hold up. Welcome to China Uncensored, I'm Chris Chappell. Chinese New Year is around the corner. Do you know where your firecrackers are? Remember to keep them away from children. Wait, I thought manhole covers were supposed to weigh like 250 pounds each. A single firecracker blew five manhole covers into the air? I don't think those manhole covers were up to code. And that's not the only manhole cover related explosion coming out of China. A few months earlier, in a different city, this happened. According to Newsweek, “The explosion is believed to have been caused when the boy's live firecracker ignited flammable gases underground.” Wait, why were there FLAMMABLE GASES UNDERGROUND?! And isn't the whole point of having heavy iron manhole covers to prevent them from being moved? Fortunately, the kid was ok. But if you think these are isolated incidents, you've never been to the real China. These are what are known as tofu-dreg projects. Tofu-dreg is a slang term in China used to describe poor quality construction. Yes, shoddy construction is so common in China, there's a special phrase for it. The phrase was coined in 1998 by former Premier Zhu Rongji when he visited the Yangtze River and described the flood dykes there as being flimsy like the crumbly bits left over after you make tofu. Under the Chinese Communist Party, the culture of corruption seeps into everything. When it comes to construction, corruption can happen at any stage—design, planning, procuring materials, and building. People cut costs to skim money at each level, they ignore safety rules, and they even bribe inspectors. And then you get things like this: You can peel off the “concrete” of this bridge with your bare hands. Don't light a firecracker. Now I'm not saying *all* Chinese construction is like this. But in mainland China, it's shockingly common. Last year, a poorly built hotel that had been converted into a quarantine center collapsed, killing more than two dozen people. People were outraged. So why doesn't the government just step in and fix the problem? Because they're in on it! “Local governments... have massive incentives to promote rapid and unfettered growth, and often turn a blind eye to construction standards. For one, local governments rely on the revenues arising from construction, including land sales and transfer fees... For another, local officials are promoted based on the growth rates of their jurisdictions.” Construction companies under China's corrupt communist system cut corners at nearly every step of the process. And local officials don't seem to care. In fact, they often get a cut of the extra profits. As long as the buildings get built and look ok, they're doing a bang-up job. Just don't bang on the walls. Or get them wet. And you'll get a kick out of this. One guy did. Within the next minute, 215 guardrail posts fell into the water across nearly half a mile. It's like playing dominoes, except you could die. I also recommend you don't live in an area that has typhoons, so...half of China's east coast. I really hope this blows the lid off of Chinese corruption. Otherwise the issue could just fall through the cracks. And this kind of thing happens everywhere, even in residential apartments. Have fun trying to tell your boss you can't come into work today because THE STAIRS FELL OFF! Basically it's exactly what happened in The Money Pit, only instead of one house, it's the entire country. With all the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda about their fancy skyscrapers... and high speed trains... ...there are a lot of problems under the surface. Just last summer, the Shanghai Tower (Corner Box), China's tallest building, had a huge water leak that reached from the 60th floor down to the 9th floor, ruining furniture and office supplies. I'll take a rain check on that one. Now tofu-dreg projects are kind of a sensitive topic for Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who claims to be implementing nationwide anti-corruption measures. The truth is, he's not actually stopping corruption. And he definitely doesn't want to hear your feedback either. Like if you tell him the Three Gorges Dam is cracking under pressure. “Beijing recently admitted the wall has 'leaked, moved and distorted.'” But only because it was already obvious. We can only hope that there will finally be an end to the tofu-dreg projects soon—or at some point the dam is really going to burst for the Chinese Communist Party. And the whole thing could blow up in their face. And now it's time for me to answer a question from a viewer who supports China Uncensored on Patreon. Jason says: “Hey Chris, video idea: Short video on how the CCP effects everyone's life. Whenever I try to educate people about the CCP, some people just don't care because they think China is so far away how could it ever have an impact on their life.” Well, Jason, this whole video was about how the culture of corruption affects the lives of regular people in mainland China. People there actually have to live and work in these poorly made buildings, and there's very little they can do about it. This kind of tofu-dreg construction also happens in countries that are part of China's Belt and Road initiative—or really anywhere that uses Chinese construction and materials. If you want good quality Chinese construction...go to Taiwan. Thanks, Jason. And thank you for watching. Be like Jason and support China Uncensored by going to Patreon.com/ChinaUncensored and contributing a dollar or more per episode. I might even read your question on the show. Once again, I'm Chris Chappell. Thanks for watching China Uncensored.