Re­search bases are not places for recre­ation

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - THIRTY KILO­ME­TERS

from Kun­ming, the cap­i­tal of Southwest China’s Yun­nan prov­ince, is a field base of the provin­cial en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­ence re­search in­sti­tute es­tab­lished to con­duct re­search on rare and en­dan­gered plants. But a re­sort and golf course have been built on its cam­pus where some peo­ple in­dulge in recre­ation, Bei­jing Times com­mented on Wed­nes­day:

The recre­ation fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing “four star” guest­houses, restau­rants, must have cost mil­lions of yuan to build. Jour­nal­ists did not find the rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion on public bid­ding, so no one knows where the funds for the fa­cil­i­ties came from.

Even if the fund­ing proves to be proper, the in­sti­tute still has to use its re­sources for sci­en­tific re­search, in­stead of try­ing to en­ter­tain a few or sim­ply go for prof­its.

In 2014, me­dia re­ports said the Harbin city land bureau in North­east China had built a lux­u­ri­ous club­house in the pro­tected wet­lands. The bureau re­sponded that the ini­tial plan was to build a ge­o­log­i­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal mon­i­tor­ing sta­tion.

Al­though the club­house has been “cleared” and the “mon­i­tor­ing sta­tion” has been put up for sale, that ex­pla­na­tion was not con­vinc­ing.

Some govern­ment de­part­ments that have al­lowed fa­cil­i­ties to be built on the grounds of sci­en­tific re­search in­sti­tutes should clar­ify where the funds came from.

If the fund sources are sus­pi­cious, why didn’t the su­per­vi­sors stop them? If the fa­cil­i­ties were self-fi­nanced, why are out­siders al­lowed to use them? Was there any abuse of power or rent seek­ing? And if sci­en­tific re­search funds are used to please a small num­ber of of­fi­cials, isn’t it cor­rup­tion?

Such prac­tices should be stopped.

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