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China beefs up checks on amusement rides

Updated: 2013-09-30 10:42
By Xu Wei ( China Daily)

China beefs up checks on amusement rides

Stranded passengers have to take a precarious route down from a roller coaster in an amusement park in Shanghai after it breaks down on July 21. Provided to China Daily

China's top quality watchdog has ordered intensified safety checks of amusement rides ahead of the National Day holiday, which runs from Oct 1 to 7, following two accidents that killed one person and injured three this month.

The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine has required quality supervision officials nationwide to intensify checks on rides such as swing rides, roller coasters and cableways at amusement parks and scenic spots, Li Benjun, a spokesman for the administration, said at a news conference on Sunday.

The order came after two accidents this month, including one involving a swing ride at an amusement park in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, on Sept 15 that injured three people, one severely.

On Sept 16, a man at the Fragrant Hills Park in Beijing fell to his death while taking a cable car at the park.

Local authorities must suspend from operation any facilities that are unregistered or do not meet safety standards. Operators should also keep rides in good working order and step up safety training among workers.

China has more than 400 amusement parks receiving more than 300 million tourists every year, according to the authority.

The country has about 16,700 amusement rides in operation and a yearly production of 1,500 such facilities, with about five accidents taking place each year.

To attract tourists, producers and operators keep adding new technologies to the rides, often making maintenance more difficult and increasing the risk to tourists, the authority said.

Meanwhile, some manufacturers have not been able to maintain safety standards for their products.

Lack of funding for maintenance and overloading with tourists during holidays are also causes of accidents, the authority said.

Shen Gang, secretary-general of the China Association of Special Equipment Inspection, said the current regulations are not sufficient to police operators of small and medium size.

In some countries, the operators of such facilities are required to be keenly aware of the risks associated with such rides and their responsibilities with regard to maintenance and emergencies, he said.

"However, in China, some operators are just chasing profits without paying attention to safety," he said.