No avoid­ing ac­count­abil­ity for past mis­take

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - AN OF­FI­CIAL IN­SPEC­TION TEAM

as­signed to dou­ble-check the death toll from Ty­phoon Dam­rey that hit the Xi­uyan Manchu eth­nic au­ton­o­mous county of An­shan in North­east China’s Liaon­ing prov­ince in 2012, has con­firmed that the num­ber was pur­posely un­der­stated by lo­cal of­fi­cials. Bei­jing Youth Daily com­mented on Thursday:

Thanks to the me­dia cov­er­age and pub­lic at­ten­tion in the past few days, the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment de­manded a full in­spec­tion into the claim by a lo­cal res­i­dent that the true death toll in the ty­phoon had been cov­ered up.

The in­spec­tion team has found that the ty­phoon killed some 27 res­i­dents, which means it should have been deemed a ma­jor nat­u­ral dis­as­ter ac­cord­ing to the Crim­i­nal Law and the Na­tional Emer­gency Plan for Nat­u­ral Dis­as­ter Re­lief.

That might ex­plain why the of­fi­cials then in Xi­uyan chose to with­hold the real death toll as they didn’t want it known how ill-pre­pared the county was. Its dis­grace­ful ef­forts to si­lence the

truth have fi­nally come to light more than four years later.

The in­spec­tion team should ful­fill its in­ves­tiga­tive du­ties and dis­close its find­ings in a timely man­ner. More­over, all in­volved of­fi­cials, re­gard­less of their cur­rent ranks and po­si­tions, must be pun­ished if they vi­o­lated the rel­e­vant laws and reg­u­la­tions.

The re­open­ing of in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the county’s mis­han­dling of the nat­u­ral dis­as­ter shows the tide has turned when it comes to the han­dling of mis­takes left over by history, which had of­ten been ig­nored or played down if the case was closed.

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