China orders checks on workplace safety after Tianjin blasts

  • Agencies, Tianjin
  • Updated: Aug 18, 2015 00:40 IST
Soldiers of the People's Liberation Army anti-chemical warfare corps work next to a damaged firefighting vehicle at the site of Wednesday night's explosions in Tianjin (Reuters photo)

China on Monday ordered anationwide check on workplace safety and to correct all irregularities days after huge explosions at warehouse in the port city of Tianjin killed 114 people and left 70 people missing.

The directive from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology lamented the frequency of fatal workplace incidents and demanded a thorough national inspection on all safety risks.

Prosecutors have been tasked with investigating possible dereliction of duties and abuse of power that may have contributed to the blasts.

“We must thoroughly investigate (the incident) and hold accountable all those responsible,” said Premier Li Keqiang, as quoted by state media.

“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.”

Meanwhile, hundreds of residents displaced by huge explosions last week in the Chinese port of Tianjin demanded compensation on Monday, as authorities worked to complete a sweep of the blast site for dangerous chemicals. The death toll from the two blasts last on Wednesday rose to 114, with more than 700 people.

As teams specialized in handling hazardous chemicals scrambled to clean up the site, Tianjin’s deputy mayor, He Shushan, confirmed there was about 700 tons of deadly chemical sodium cyanide in the warehouse that blew up.

About 200 protesters gathered outside a hotel where officials were briefing journalists.

“This is not a demonstration. This is simply our only channel to attract the government’s attention,” said a protestor, whose home was close to the blast site.

About 6,300 people have been evacuated from around the site in the city of about 15 million and the gateway to China’s industrial northeast.

Jack Ma crtiticised

E-commerce giant Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma, has come under immense pressure from netizens who criticised him for not donating money for the welfare of the victims of the Tianjin blasts.

China’s increasingly assertive netizens has turned Jack’s official account on Weibo into a battlefield of debating over charity after some other celebrities publicised their donations over the weekend.

Over 50,000 comments flooded 50-year-old Jack’s official Weibo account, with many questioning him why he hadn’t donated money to the victims of the blasts.

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