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Unauthorized construction blamed for mosque collapse
Updated: 2008-07-28 18:08

XINING - Unauthorized construction was behind the mosque collapse in Qinghai Province in northwest China, which left eight people dead and 23 others injured last Thursday, said investigators on Monday.

Police have detained a building contractor and several suspects in connection with the accident, in which a child was among the dead.

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The identities of the suspects were not available.

One of the injured was still in a critical condition, and the others were out of danger in hospital as of Monday.

The mosque built with donations from Muslim villagers in Xiajiuzhuang did not have an official construction permit, said the production safety supervision authority in Datong Hui and Tu Autonomous County.

Except for the 8-year-old boy, all the victims in the accident were villagers from Xiajiuzhuang, who took part in the construction of the mosque.

The investigators found that although the mosque project was officially approved, there was neither a construction tendering held, nor construction permit available, before the suspected contractor employed some villagers to kick off the construction in May last year.

The construction was almost completed, when a supporting beam suddenly failed, which caused the tragedy, said the investigators.

The county government has issued 3,000 yuan (US$439) of pension to each family of the dead, and promised to pay for part of the medical bills for the injured.

After the accident, the local Red Cross and Muslim societies helped raise over 120,000 yuan of donations for the unfortunate families.

The county government has suspended all of the ongoing temple and mosque construction projects in the region for document checks and quality inspection.