State Media Confirms Cover Up of Deadly Shanxi Tunnel Explosion
Created: 2013-01-03 14:21 EST
State-run media reported today a subsidiary of state-owned China Railway Tunnel Group covered-up a deadly accident in Shanxi province.
The explosion inside a tunnel happened on December 25th. It was first exposed by netizens, but the company in charge of the construction concealed it for five days.
Xinhua News Agency says the explosion killed eight people. But online reports say as many as 60 perished.
On Wednesday (January 2), Shanxi’s acting governor, Li Xiaopeng, visited the site. He declared there would be zero tolerance for cover-ups.
[Lin Zixu, Political Commentator]:
“At the site, Li Xiaopeng berated officials and others. But as the governor, he should be responsible. He didn’t personally apologize, but was criticizing others, as though everyone was at fault but him, and he’s there to uphold justice.”
Li Xiaopeng is the son of former Chinese Premier Li Peng and has held official positions in Shanxi since 2008.
The explosion is one of several industrial accidents around China in recent weeks.
NTD Senior China Analyst, Heng He, believes that’s why Li and state media are now reacting.
[Heng He, NTD Senior China Analyst]:
“Senior Chinese leaders are hoping to sleep easy. Now they can find a scapegoat from the railway company. It’ll be easy to punish them, and it’ll also quell public anger.”
Xinhua's report says it was the construction manager who covered-up the accident.
Xinhua also said it was acknowledged by officials on December 30th but state-media did not report on it till today. This is one reason why Chinese people are bypassing official press, and turning to social media instead to spread and receive information.