Wenzhou officials claim data on website forum 'totally unreliable'
SHANGHAI: Local authorities in Wenzhou of East China's Zhejiang province are trying hard to calm public anger over what might be another housing scandal involving local government officials.
At a hastily-called press conference on Wednesday morning, officials from the commission for disciplinary inspection of the Wenzhou committee of the Communist Party of China denied an online posting that local government officials bought upper-class properties at preferential prices.
On Saturday, a netizen with the registered ID "wzjdc818" posted an article on a popular online forum in Wenzhou exposing the hidden rules in real estate, as well as the illegal dealings between Golden City estate agency and government officials in Dongzhou, which apparently alluded to Wenzhou.
The article said that the involved officials could easily obtain profits of up to 1 million yuan because of the preferential selling prices offered to them.
Golden City estate agency has sold 1,333 commercial apartments in three phases.In the first phase, 345 blocks were sold and 52 were reserved with an average price of 22,000 yuan per square meter.
In the second phase, 635 blocks were sold and 108 were reserved with an average price of 24,000 yuan.
In the third phase, 353 blocks were sold and 72 were reserved with an average price of 28,000 yuan.
The netizen suggested that the reserved blocks were primarily sold to 32 local officials.
A list of 32 government officers, giving their surnames and job positions, who have reportedly bought the apartments at far below than the market value, was attached with the online article.
The officials include senior officers of city departments of construction, urban planning and housing.
The Wenzhou commission for disciplinary inspection, however, declared on Wednesday that the facts given on the forum are totally unreliable and that the Golden City real estate agency had followed the regulation on the prices with a 2 percent pre-order discount.
Zhang Chunxiao, spokesman for the commission, said an investigation proved that 29 out of 32 officers have never purchased any property in the neighborhood, while three of them bought one each for their relatives without any special discounts.
Zhang refused to comment any further on the case at this time.
The post has triggered much criticism among netizens amid the public's growing complaints about soaring housing prices.
"I don't think that's the only list of officials who have been involved in purchasing corruptions in Wenzhou. Many more officials have been involved in corruptions," a netizen registered as "Ying Ji Chang Kong" said in a post.
"The figures and facts seem to be reliable with so much detailed information. The commission of disciplinary inspection has to clarify the truth to the public as soon as possible," wrote another netizen named as "Tai Ji Dong La".
A similar case occurred in Wenzhou, which was also uncovered by netizens in the same forum last year.
An article was posted in March last year exposing that 94 apartments in urban redevelopment regions had been reserved for sale to local officials at low prices.
The case was later investigated and found to be true, leading to the punishment of the officials involved. (China Daily)