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Jilin officials punished over fatal accidents

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-07-08 07:15

More than 100 Chinese officials and company executives found to be responsible for three deadly workplace accidents this year have been prosecuted, sacked, demoted or given disciplinary punishments, the State Council said on Saturday.

The State Council said in a statement that it had approved an investigation report regarding the accidents in the Jilin province that left a total of 174 people dead. The report includes proposed punishments for those found responsible for the accidents.

Thirty-five people, including government officials and company executives, have been transferred to the judicial authorities for prosecution, and 73 others, including Jilin's deputy governor Gu Chunli, deputy governor and police chief Huang Guanchun, and former top work safety official Jin Hua, have been disciplined.

The State Council ordered the Jilin government to conduct a review of procedures.

A fire ripped through a poultry plant owned by the Jilin Baoyuanfeng Poultry Co in Dehui on June 3, leaving 121 dead and 76 injured. The fire came months after two coal mine blasts on March 29 and April 1 at the Babao Coal Mine in Baishan, Jilin, that killed 53 people and injured 20.

The cases are "extraordinarily significant liability accidents", the report said, indicating human error was to blame, particularly the lack of work safety supervision.

In the Dehui fire, an electrical short was identified as the direct cause, igniting "combustible goods" nearby, the heat from which then set off explosions of ammonia equipment and pipelines, according to the report.

The report also blamed a lack of safety measures in the workshop, as well as lax supervision by fire control, construction and work safety supervision authorities.

Nineteen people, including the company's board chairman Jia Yushan, general manager Zhang Yushen, and firefighting officials in Dehui and Changchun, capital of Jilin, as well as local government officials, have been subject to judicial punishment.

In addition to deputy governor Huang, those disciplined include Changchun Mayor Jiang Qiaying - Changchun administers Dehui - and Li Shutian, general director of the provincial firefighting brigade.

Dehui Party chief Zhang Dexiang, Mayor Liu Changchun, and police chief Wang Hua'an were dismissed from their posts.

Dereliction of duty was also reported in the Babao Coal Mine blasts, according to the report.

Due to inadequate fire-prevention measures, self-ignition of coal led to gas explosions in the mine, the report said.

After the initial blasts and 36 fatalities on March 29, the company violated a production ban by sending workers into the mine again, where a gas blast on April 1 killed 17 people and injured eight.

Meanwhile, poor management at the mine and lax supervision from the Baishan municipal government and related authorities were also to blame, the report said.

Sixteen people, including Zhao Xianwen, board chairman and general manager of Tonghua Mining Co, which owns the mine, and his deputies, have been prosecuted.

Baishan Mayor Peng Yonglin and his deputy were also given disciplinary sanctions along with Jilin's deputy governor Gu and former top work safety official Jin.

Yuan Yuqing, board chairman of Jilin Provincial Coal Industry Group, the parent company of Tonghua Mining Co, was sacked, while the general manager of the group Jia Liming was demoted.

The State Council has ordered the governments of all levels in Jilin and related authorities, as well as companies, to draw lessons from the accidents and carry out thorough safety checks so as to ensure work safety in future.

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