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Managers jailed for fireworks factory blast
Updated: 2005-02-02 02:57

Managers of a Chinese fireworks factory where an explosion killed 37 people have been sentenced to up to seven years in prison, the government said Tuesday.

A fireworks factory blast in Guangxi Province in January this year kills four. [newsphoto/file] 
The verdict came as factories rushed to fill orders for firecrackers to celebrate the Lunar New Year -- a period when reports of deaths in fires and explosions peak.

The explosion Oct. 4 at the factory in the southern region of Guangxi destroyed three workshops, tore the roofs of nearby houses and left the ground strewn with bodies and rubble, according to news reports.

Three factory managers were sentenced Monday on charges of causing a nuisance using dangerous materials, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It didn't give any details of what caused the blast.

Ma Dezhong and Huang Xiujuan, contractors who operated the factory, were jailed for seven and three years, respectively, Xinhua said. It said another manager, Ma Jing, was sentenced to five years.

China's fireworks industry suffers hundreds of deaths every year in explosions and fires despite government promises to tighten safety standards.

The industry employs tens of thousands of people, many of them in the poorest parts of the country. They do most of the work by hand, often at home or in small village workshops.

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