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China factory explosion victims clash with police over compensation

17 December 2015

According to a report in Caixin Online, dozens of workers who were injured in a huge explosion at their Chinese car parts factory last year have clashed with riot police during a protest over compensation. Workers and relatives were protesting at a city government building in Kunshan about the way their injury payouts are being handled. 

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China factory explosion victims clash with police over compensation
According to a report in Caixin Online, dozens of workers who were injured in a huge explosion at their Chinese car parts factory last year have clashed with riot police during a protest over compensation.

The workers demonstrating on December 14 were among those injured by a blast at the Zhongrong Metal Products Co.  factory in Kunshan, in the eastern province of Jiangsu, on August 2 last year. The explosion was blamed on a build up of metallic dust in the air and killed 146 workers, the government later said.

More than a dozen of the workers' relatives were detained during the clash with police, witnesses said, and one said a few of their relatives were hurt in the incident.

The protest was linked to a group of nearly 70 workers who suffered severe injuries, such as burns to up to 90% of their bodies and deformed limbs. Many of the workers still require hospital treatment in Kunshan and have to be cared for by their relatives.

One worker told Caixin that the government recently told the workers they need to undergo assessments of their injuries to determine how much compensation they will receive. Workers who suffered lighter injuries will receive a one-off payout, while those who were critically hurt can stay in the hospital and get 90% of their salaries.

The worker said he and others wanted officials to clarify the levels of compensation for lighter injuries and how future medical costs will be covered before they will agree to the assessments.

The workers and their relatives said they went to lower government agencies to get answers on the payout plan before the protest at the city government building, but no one would talk to them.

Caixin said its calls to the city government were not answered.

The blast in Kunshan highlights China's poor track record regarding safety in the workplace. Two days after the explosion, a team of investigators sent by the central government said the company neglected many safety rules.


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