Date: August 17, 2015
By: Paul Traynor, The Associated Press
TIANJIN, China — China’s government ordered a nationwide check of workplace safety Monday
to correct any irregularities five days after huge explosions at a warehouse in the port city of Tianjin killed at least 114 people and left 70 others missing.
The directive from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology lamented the frequency of fatal workplace accidents and demanded a thorough inspection of all safety risks.
Meanwhile, prosecutors were ordered to investigate possible dereliction of duty and abuse of power that may have contributed to Wednesday night’s blasts.
“We must thoroughly investigate (the incident) and hold accountable all those responsible,” state media quoted Premier Li Keqiang as saying. “We must give an answer for families of the victims, an answer for all residents of Tianjin, an answer for all Chinese people, and an answer for history.”
About 100 people whose residences were damaged by the explosions gathered Monday to demand compensation from the government.
Wednesday’s blasts originated at a warehouse for hazardous material, where 700 tons of sodium cyanide — a toxic chemical that can form combustible substances on contact with water — was being stored in amounts that violated safety rules. That has prompted contamination fears and a major cleanup of a 3-kilometre (1.8-mile) -radius, cordoned-off area in the Chinese port city southeast of Beijing. [FULL STORY]