Touliang huanzhu

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Touliang huanzhu ( tōu liáng huàn zhù) is a 4-character Chinese language term referring to the clandestine use of cheap construction materials in place of higher-quality materials to cut costs. The resultant shoddy construction may be referred to as a tofu-dreg project.


The New Yorker reported that:

In November, 2011, a former cook with no engineering experience was found to be building a high-speed railway bridge using a crew of unskilled migrant laborers who substituted crushed stones for cement in the foundation. In railway circles, the practice of substituting cheap materials for real ones was common enough to rate its own expression: touliang huanzhu—robbing the beams to put in the pillars.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Osnos, Evan (2012-10-22). "Boss Rail: The disaster that exposed the underside of the boom". The New Yorker.