China Investigates Tianjin Blasts, Detains More Suspects

Published By : 28 Aug 2015 | Published By : QYRESEARCH

Chinese authorities have broadened investigation of the Tianjin blasts and have accused 11 custom and transport officials, along with several municipal authorities of negligence and power abuse. The chemical explosion at the port city of Tianjin on August 12 left around 140 dead and between 450 and 700 people injured or hospitalized. The blasts led to public outrage over corruption that allowed the Ruihai International Logistics Firm to store hazardous chemicals in large amount. The 11 accused held by the investigators join 12 people previously detained from the warehouse, including its board chairman. 

The state-run news agency Xinhua reported that the people facing investigation include the local transportation management authorities of Tianjin, land resource authorities, local customs office, a government-owned port company, and work safety regulatory agencies. The warehouse stored more than 700 tons of hazardous chemicals and was located near residential apartments. The presence of residential buildings near the chemical storage facility led to the rise in death toll of the blast victims. Residents have blamed lack of accountability and public oversight on the part of authorities and are asking for compensation. 

President Xi Jinping have promised to conduct a detailed investigation. According to the reports, the Chinese government’s investigation aims to include public servants who were supposed to work as watchdogs. This comes amid a new policy in Beijing that is focussing on shutting down parts of society that could act as public watchdogs. Last year, Chinese officials targeted non-governmental organizations such as civil society NGOs and arrested or detained more than 200 lawyers who were interested to take public interests and civil rights cases. Critics have pointed out that industrial accidents such as Tianjin blasts could have been averted by civil rights lawyers or NGOs working on local interests. 
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