China May Charge Ten People Over Fireworks Deaths

Published November 26th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Chinese authorities may charge ten people if they are found responsible for the deaths of 65 workers in two fireworks explosions this year, state media said Sunday, as factories step up firework production for the country's New Year celebrations. 

Eight people will be investigated for criminal charges in connection with the first blast which occurred on June 30 when a huge explosion at a Hong Kong-funded fireworks plant in southern Guangdong province killed 37 people and injured 12, the People's Daily said Sunday.  

So far, all but one -- the chairman of the Hong Kong company producing fireworks at the site -- have been detained. 

Meanwhile, two people will be examined in connection with the second blast on August 4, which killed 28 people and injured 26 after explosives used to produce firecrackers blew up in eastern Jiangxi province's Shangli county. 

The person found most directly responsible, a firecracker manufacturer identified as Huang Lexiang, died when she unloaded the explosives from a lorry at her apartment, which doubled as a factory.  

Meanwhile, the State Economic and Trade Commission urged fireworks producers to improve safety in their plants, the People's Daily said Sunday. 

The commission's warning comes as factories across China step up firework production for Chinese New Year celebrations in late January 2001 -- BEIJING (AFP)  




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