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China Punishes Officials in Jilin After Deadly Workplace Lapses

China Punishes Officials in Jilin After Deadly Workplace Lapses
Rescuers stand near a damaged poultry plant after a blaze was triggered by a chemical leak in Dehui, northeast China's Jilin province, June 4, 2013. Source: AFP via Getty Images

A mayor and Communist Party chief were fired after 121 people died in China’s deadliest blaze in 13 years, in the northeastern province of Jilin, as the government cracks down on industrial safety.

Vice Governors Gu Chunli and Huang Guanchun, also provincial police chief, are among 73 officials penalized over two workplace accidents that killed more than 150 people this year in Jilin, Xinhua News Agency reported today. A further 35 people will be prosecuted over the safety lapses, Xinhua said.

The State Council ordered the province to strictly implement workplace safety responsibility mechanisms and “make it an impassable red line that development can’t come at the cost of human lives,” according to Xinhua.

The June 3 fire at a poultry plant in the city of Dehui caused 182 million yuan ($30 million) in direct economic losses. A March 29 blast at Tonghua Mining Group’s Babao coal mine killed 36 people, Xinhua said.

Dehui’s Party Secretary Zhang Dexiang and Mayor Liu Changchun were removed from their posts, while Tonghua Mining’s Chairman Zhao Xianwen and 15 other company executives were handed over for prosecution, Xinhua reported.

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