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Courts crack down on construction accidents

By Hou Liqiang | | Updated: 2022-06-09 18:05
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The Supreme People's Court has vowed to stringently punish safety violations as it addressed the issue of danger to life and property with other government bodies, including the Ministry of Emergency Management,

Courts nationwide have tightened punishment for acts that endanger safety in recent years, Ye Shaosheng, a senior judge with the Supreme People's Court, told a news conference organized by the ministry on Thursday.

Despite small differences in the annual totals of concluded cases, there have been remarkable increases in recent years in both the numbers of people convicted of the crime and of those given sentences of more than five years in prison, Ye noted.

He said that against the backdrop of frequent safety accidents in the construction sector for example, courts across the country have taken to handing out strict punishments as a general rule of thumb.

One accident to hit the headlines in 2020 — the collapse of a rural restaurant in Xiangfen county, Shanxi province — left 29 dead and 28 injured and caused direct economic losses of about 11.6 million yuan ($1.7 million). 

Investigators concluded that repeated expansions carried out by unqualified contractors were to blame for the deadly collapse, which took place that August as family members and guests were attending a birthday banquet for an 80-year-old man.

"Accidents in the construction sector directly jeopardize lives and property," Ye stressed, adding that in their endeavors to ensure safe operation in the sector, courts across the country attach great importance to prosecuting such cases.

By way of example, he said that Qi Jianhua, an investor and owner of the Shanxi restaurant, was given the highest possible penalty of seven years in jail for his role in causing a major-liability accident.

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