China bars on­line dis­cus­sion of mys­tery blast that killed 14

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THE toll from a pow­er­ful ex­plo­sion in China rose to 14 dead and 147 in­jured yes­ter­day, state me­dia said, as au­thor­i­ties cen­sored dis­cus­sion of the in­ci­dent on­line.

The blast in Xin­min, in the north­ern prov­ince of Shaanxi, on Oc­to­ber 24 tore through five build­ings, de­stroy­ing or dam­ag­ing 58 oth­ers, the of­fi­cial Xin­hua news agency said.

It may have been caused by il­le­gally stored ex­plo­sives, an ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion found.

Pic­tures showed wide­spread dam­age, with win­dows blown out of build­ings, a crater in the street and blood­ied vic­tims ly­ing on the ground.

Res­cue ef­forts had con­cluded by yes­ter­day, and more than 100 of the in­jured were still hos­pi­talised, Xin­hua said, cit­ing lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

The ex­plo­sion comes at a time of height­ened vig­i­lance for the rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party, which is hold­ing a high-level meet­ing in Bei­jing, the “Sixth Plenum”.

Out­raged so­cial me­dia users said that there were com­par­a­tively few reports on the in­ci­dent on­line, and oth­ers had been deleted, with com­ments on many plat­forms dis­abled.

“They’ve closed off dis­cus­sion of the in­ci­dent and don’t dare re­veal the num­bers of ca­su­al­ties and deaths,” wrote one in­censed user. “Such a big in­ci­dent, and they’re pre­par­ing to quash it un­der pres­sure.”

In­dus­trial ac­ci­dents are com­mon in China, where safely reg­u­la­tions are of­ten flouted.

Gi­ant ex­plo­sions at a chem­i­cal stor­age fa­cil­ity in the north­ern port of Tian­jin last year killed at least 165 peo­ple. –

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