China Pledges Harsh Penalties Ahead Of Party Anniversary

BEIJING — In the days ahead, as the governing Communist Party plans lavish festivities for its centennial on July 1, China pledges to brutally punish anybody guilty for catastrophic industrial mishaps or outbreaks of unrest.

Vice Premier Liu He ordered safety inspections to be carried out to prevent such occurrences during a meeting on Thursday.

“Contain the frequent occurrence of various sorts of accidents and establish a safe and stable atmosphere in which to commemorate the party’s centennial,” Following the meeting, an official statement was issued.

The conference comes after at least 25 people died in a gas explosion in a market in Shiyan’s capital city on Sunday, and 13 people died in a flood in an iron mine in Shanxi’s northern province on June 10. Authorities have apprehended 13 persons in connection with the mine disaster, while the market blast is still being investigated.

“Strengthen the law of production safety, harshly punish different violations of laws and regulations, and thoroughly investigate accidents and hold those responsible accountable in line with laws and regulations,” According to the statement.

At a time when China is under fire from the international community for human rights violations in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Inner Mongolia, the rollback of democracy in Hong Kong, military threats against Taiwan, and aggressive assertions of territorial claims, President Xi Jinping, who is also the party’s leader, is determined to ensure the anniversary celebrations are not marred by any incidents.

The economy has recovered from the coronavirus epidemic at home, but it has yet to regain its former vigor, with well-paying employment for new college graduates scarce and the government obliged to pump massive sums into the economy.

Despite repeated safety measures, China continues to suffer from a high number of fatal industrial accidents.

In 2019, a chemical spill at a facility in eastern China killed 78 people, while a huge explosion at chemical storage in Tianjin’s port city killed 173 people, the majority of them were firemen and police officers. Illegal building and improper storage of hazardous chemicals were blamed for the explosion.

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