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Forty punished in China tunnel explosion cover-up

06 February 2013

Judicial or disciplinary punishments have been handed down to 40 people for their roles in covering up a fatal explosion at a railway tunnel construction site in north China's Shanxi Province on December 25, Xinhua reported on February 5.

They include 14 people employed by Erchu Co, which was the main contractor for the China Railway Tunnel Group, said Liu Dezheng, a spokesman for the provincial work safety commission. Six people were involved in covering up the accident, Liu said.

The accident was revealed to the public five days after it happened, when a whistle-blower wrote an online post about the explosion.

Illegal disposal of explosive materials caused the accident, according to the spokesman.

The company transferred 14,000 meter-long detonating fuses, 4,000 metre-long nonel tubes and other materials from warehousing to underground construction sites and destroyed them, he said.

Under regulations, redundant explosives should be registered and destroyed under the supervision of the local public security authority.

Eight people were killed in the explosion and another five were injured. The dead included blasters, a waterproofer, an electrician and a quality inspector.

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