November 26, 2020

China blames 54 officials for bullet train crash

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FILE - In this July 24, 2011 file photo, a wrecked passenger carriage is lifted off the bridge in Wenzhou in east China's Zhejiang province, after a train crash. A long-awaited government report said on Wednesday Dec. 28, 2011, design flaws and sloppy management caused the bullet train crash in July that killed 40 people and triggered a public outcry over the dangers of China's showcase transportation system. (AP Photo, File) CHINA OUT

BEIJING (AP) — A long-awaited government report said design flaws and sloppy management caused a bullet train crash in July that killed 40 people and triggered a public outcry over the dangers of China’s showcase transportation system.

A former railway minister was among 54 officials found responsible for the crash, a Cabinet statement said Wednesday. Several were ordered dismissed from Communist Party posts but there was no word of possible criminal penalties.

The crash report was highly anticipated by the public. The disaster near the southern city of Wenzhou also injured 177 people and had triggered a public outcry over the high cost and dangers of the bullet train system, a prestige project that once enjoyed lofty status on a level with the country’s manned space program.

Regulations had required the report to be released by Nov. 20. When that date passed, the government offered little explanation, drawing renewed criticism by state media, which have been unusually skeptical about the handling of the accident and the investigation.

The Cabinet statement cited “serious design flaws and major safety risks” and what it said were a string of errors in equipment procurement and management. It also criticized the Railways Ministry’s rescue efforts.

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