China ar­rests 12 over Tian­jin blasts: Xin­hua

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Main­land Chi­nese po­lice have ar­rested 12 peo­ple over gi­ant ex­plo­sions that killed 139 peo­ple and dev­as­tated a swathe of a Chi­nese port city, state media said Thurs­day as pros­e­cu­tors probe 11 of­fi­cials for ne­glect­ing their du­ties.

The of­fi­cial Xin­hua News Agency said the dozen for­mally held in­clude the chair­man and se­nior man­agers of the firm whose chem­i­cal stor­age fa­cil­ity ex­ploded in the north­ern city of Tian­jin two weeks ago, in the coun­try’s high­est-pro­file in­dus­trial ac­ci­dent in years.

Sep­a­rately, t he Supreme Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate said on its web­site that pros­e­cu­tors in the city were also prob­ing 11 of­fi­cials for “abuse of power” and “dere­lic­tion of duty” over the blasts, which also in­jured hun­dreds of peo­ple.

In China, for­mal ar­rest nor­mally comes af­ter some time in po­lice de­ten­tion and sees the case handed to pros­e­cu­tors, with trial and con­vic­tion al­most guar­an­teed.

The 12 ar­rested in­clude own­ers of Rui Hai In­ter­na­tional Lo­gis­tics who were shown on state tele­vi­sion last week, when they were al­ready be­ing held by po­lice, “con­fess­ing” to us­ing gov­ern­ment con­nec­tions to ob­tain safety per­mits.

More than 500 peo­ple re­main in hos­pi­tal af­ter the huge ex­plo­sions, which left a trail of man­gled build­ings and burnt out cars in their wake.

The in­ci­dent sparked wide­spread out­rage over al­leged safety vi­o­la­tions by the firm and pos­si­ble of­fi­cial col­lu­sion, and fears of pol­lu­tants con­tam­i­nat­ing the air and wa­ter of Tian­jin, home to about 15 mil­lion peo­ple.

Com­mu­nist author­i­ties and state-run media have sought to pin blame for the dis­as­ter on lo­cal in­di­vid­u­als and of­fi­cials, rather than sys­temic fac­tors.

Pros­e­cu­tors said the of­fi­cials they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing came from sev­eral gov­ern­ment de­part­ments in­clud­ing trans­porta­tion man­age­ment, cus­toms and work safety, and the pres­i­dent of a state-owned port com­pany in Tian­jin.

In­dus­trial ac­ci­dents are com­mon in China, with cor­rup­tion thought to be a key fac­tor be­hind lax en­force­ment of safety reg­u­la­tions.

The head of China’s work safety watchdog — a for­mer vice-mayor of Tian­jin — has been sacked af­ter a sus­pected cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion, state media said Wed­nes­day.

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