Industrial explosion in China leaves 14 dead, 150 injured

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Buildings in ruins after the explosion happened. Source: Xania News

A powerful blast in a storage of illegal explosives took the lives of 14 people and left over 150 injured in the North-west of China.

The explosion damaged more than 50 houses in the town of Xinmin. The people living in the area that was affected were evacuated. Of the wounded, 106 are still in hospital for treatment according to the local authorities.

The government sent a team of experts to the area to help with the investigation of this tragic event. Three people were already arrested for their part in the fatal incident. One of them was the house owner, which confessed the illegal practice in the house. As a further response to the situation, the local government has announced inspections in the whole province of Shaanxi to hunt down more of these practices. The local police and firefighters are still looking for people while clearing the scene of the incident. More victims are expected to be found.

A local resident, Mr. Bai, was not surprised after hearing of the cause of the explosion. He remembers a similar event happening a decade ago. He states “that the illegal explosives are used in the mines in the neighbourhood”. The area near Xinmin has over 21 coal mines as well as 8 magnesium plants.

Video of the tragedy’s consequences via Twitter. Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

In China accidents in industries like this are happening often, for example last year in Tianjin, killing 170 people. A possible reason for this is the fact that the Chinese government favours the rapid production and with that economic benefits over the environmental issues and the safety of the workers. This results in a work-related death rate of 75 people every day.

What became clear was that the Chinese government wasn’t amused with the rumors of yet another fatal incident that was industry related. According to Chris Burkley from the New York Times, the Chinese propaganda authorities were trying to let this piece of news left barely noticed. As the Communist Party Central Committee is coming together for a meeting, it wouldn’t be favorable for them to let the people focus on bad news.

The reason for the tragedy seems fairly vague, but the rumours that the cause has an industrial background may be spot on. Even though the Chinese government has amended the Workplace Safety Law in 2014, this doesn’t mean that the rules are as strict as in the Western world. With the preference of massive industrial production over worker’s safety, accidents like this will keep on happening.

In conclusion, a more strict rule-making policy could have probably avoided these unnecessary deaths, and could have also stopped the illegal storage of explosives and chemicals which lead the state’s economy to a quick growth. Maybe the government should use its current committee meeting for the discussion of new work safety laws. It would probably make a lot of Chinese citizens happy and unharmed.


Felix van den Broeck, Philippe Felix and Carla Martín


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