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SOEs' vain efforts to cover up accident

( Updated: 2013-01-09 21:57

In production safety, no enterprise should be exempted from supervision, irrespective of its safety production record, size and ownership. The safety watchdogs should treat all enterprises equally without favoritism, says an editorial of Beijing News Daily.


The Luliang Mountains tunnel blast in Shanxi province, which claimed eight lives, happened in late December 2012. But the public did not know about it until a few days ago, when a local resident exposed it on the Internet.

The tunnel construction project was conducted by a large-scale State-owned enterprise. An investigation shows this company should take the blame for covering up the accident to avoid punishment of the responsible individuals.

After the accident, all family members of the dead people got about 800,000 yuan ($128,500) in total as compensation. Even the co-workers who were not injured in the accident got about 20,000 yuan each and were forced to leave the company. Reportedly, this money came from a private contractor. If so, the contractor will likely be held responsible, instead of the people in charge of the project in the SOE.

It seems the private coal mines and enterprises are more likely to have safety accidents. Many accidents happening recently in iron and steel plants and especially the construction project of the tunnel show that strengthening safety supervision and regulations is necessary for all enterprises irrespective of their ownership. Although some projects are namely undertaken by SOEs, the real work is done by some private enterprises contracting the project from the SOEs.

The SOEs should ensure these contracted private companies do the projects according to relevant regulations and protect the workers' legal rights and safety. Both SOEs and private contractors should take the blame and responsibility after accidents happen.

Covering up the truth means both responsible parties are too arrogant and do not respect the public’s rights to know at all. Such behavior from SOEs makes them no different from other small companies. The SOEs do not want to stain their reputation and image.

The rational choice is to disclose the details of the accident as soon as possible and help investigators find the causes of the accident, but not cover it up.

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