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China Toughens Building Laws Amid Quake Fallout

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WSJ website screen shotBEIJING -- China's legislature passed an amendment to the country's disaster law requiring tougher building-safety standards for schools, a response to public anger over school collapses in the devastating Sichuan earthquake in May.

The new rules, announced Saturday, take effect in May and require more stringent, earthquake-proof building standards for new schools as well as earthquake-response training for school staff.

The rules require existing school buildings that don't meet the standards to be strengthened, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

News of the amendment follows a report by a senior legislator last week that some 2.5% of all China's elementary and middle schools are poorly built, with the vast majority of these schools in China's rural areas. [Read full article]

By Mei Fong

WSJ - December 29, 2008

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