Shanghai Authorities Hold 9 Linked to Deadly Building Collapse

Shanghai authorities are holding nine people in an investigation into the collapse of a nearly finished 13-story apartment building, the government said Monday after the latest in a string of accidents that have plagued the country's construction boom.

The incident Saturday killed one worker and was an embarrassment for Shanghai's leaders as they prepare to showcase the city, one of China's wealthiest and most modern, during the 2010 World Expo.

Elsewhere, one man died after part of a bridge in northeastern China caved in early Monday, sending eight vehicles plunging into the river below.

China's construction sector has long been plagued with quality problems. Thousands of students died when schools collapsed during last year's earthquake in Sichuan province, raising complaints from parents and others who accused builders of cutting corners to boost profits.

Collapsing bridges, highways and buildings in China have often been linked to endemic corruption, as officials and contractors skimp on construction materials or issue approvals without proper inspections. Such problems are more common in rural areas and inland provinces than in major cities like Shanghai, where controls usually are more rigorously enforced.

Reports on the Shanghai government's Web site said nine people — employed by the real estate developer, the contractor and the supervisor for the project — had been put "under appropriate control." The Web site also said that the developer's bank account had been frozen after people who had paid for the new apartments demanded their money back.

The building at the suburban Lotus Riverside complex toppled over almost intact, killing one worker.