After this weeks classes discussing material authenticity, I decided to do some research to try and relate this to a topic that I love, travel. Though this occurred over 5 years ago, this posts furthers the importance of authentic construction. When I came across an article title from a Chinese news paper that reads, “Fake Building Material Imperils New Chinese Railway,” I needed not look any further. Fake construction material had jeopardized the safety of China’s newest high-speed railway.
This line shortens the travel time from 15 hours to 100 minutes. Needless to say, the popularity of the new lines added rapidly grew.
An investigation by the newspaper found that “large quantities of bogus material had been used in several hundred kilometres of a $12-billion high-speed railway between the cities of Wuhan and Guangzhou.” Not only does this affect the economy, it worsens China’s image as a whole.
The name “made in China” continues to be plastered all over products found in the United States, who’s to say they aren’t cheating the system a bit on all of these products either? Many of us are aware that China produces knock-offs like there is no tomorrow. Who decided that this was the right thing to do, and why is it still so encouraged? Cheap things break. I have read that China actually has some of the strictest consumer protection laws, but they’re poorly enforced. I think this happens because in China power is held by provincial governors so there’s no consistency or uniformity in the application of law or enforcement. If that is in fact the root cause, then where does this vicious cycle end? Better yet, where does it begin?
Though the article did not explicitly state what materials fell under the category as “fake,” I think this in an extremely good example of where material authenticity is crucial to construction. Many manufacturers cut corners, but to put the lives of so many individuals riding these railways in serious danger is not something to be taken lightly.