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Links 1 through 10 of 21 by David Bandurski tagged accident

According to a report from the official Weibo of Heilongjiang Morning Post, a section of the Yangmingtan Bridge (阳明滩大桥) in the city of Harbin -- opened for traffic for less than a year -- collapsed at around 5:30 a.m. this morning. At least 3 people died in the collapse, and 5 injuries are reported.

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China's official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday that a section of a brand new high-speed railway in Hubei province collapsed after heavy rains. However, the company operating the rail line, the Huhan Hubei Rong Railway Company Limited (沪汉蓉铁路湖北有限公司), quickly denied that there had been a collapse, saying these were "routine improvements in the process of inspection." In an editorial in today's Beijing News, Han Han (韩涵) -- not to be confused with the race car driver and celebrity writer -- questioned the railway company's suggestion these were "routine improvements" and said national safety inspectors needed to move quickly to conduct a full and thorough inspection of the high-speed rail line connecting the cities of Wuhan and Yichang, which was due to open in May.

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According to China National Radio, an explosion today at a chemical factory in Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei province, has killed at least 12 people and injured more than 40. The explosion occurred at around 9:20 am in a factory operated by Ke'er Chemical Company Limited (克尔化工有限公司) in Zhao County (赵县). As of 2:30 pm local authorities said the site of the explosion remained hazardous, posing difficulties for rescue crews. A special rescue team from Sinopec, one of China's largest petroleum companies, was reportedly on the scene.

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On Tuesday, as Chinese web users chattered across social media about China's latest bus crash, which left at least 15 schoolchildren dead on Monday, the official Xinhua News Agency ran a live online chat in which State Administration of Work Safety spokesman Huang Yi (黄毅) explained draft rules on school bus safety released over the weekend. The draft rules were introduced following a public outcry over bus safety that followed a November crash in Gansu province, in which 21 people died, 19 of them schoolchildren.

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In 1975, the bursting of the Banqiao Reservoir Dam in Zhumadian, Henan province, resulted in the death of at least 90,000 people (some estimates go above 200,000). In a Sina Weibo post today, CMP Director Qian Gang (钱钢) shared a full article published in Hong Kong years ago on the history of the Banqiao Reservoir Dam and the lessons it holds for disaster prevention in China. The article is too sensitive to be shared in Chinese newspapers even today. How can an entire article be conveyed in a single microblog post? Using an image file, of course. Click on the headline above, then click on the image under the post.  

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According to China's National Business Daily, a joint "urgent notice" issued yesterday by Wenzhou's Department of Justice and the Wenzhou Lawyer's Association has instructed lawyers not to represent victims of the July 23 train crash without notifying the two bodies. The notice reads: "The 7.23 train collision is regarded as a major sensitive matter, concerning social stability, and law offices and lawyers must pay special attention. All law offices and lawyers receiving requests for legal assistance [from victims and their relatives] must, in accordance with the 'Zhejiang Regulations for the Handling of Reporting of Major, Sensitive Incidents by the Legal Sector,' make a report of [these contacts] to the city's department of justice and lawyer's association." 

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This video, posted to the video sharing site Youku, clearly shows rescue crews in Wenzhou removing a body from a wrecked train car as the cars were being buried on site following the train crash over the weekend. For many Chinese, this widely-shared video raises further questions about the mishandling of the rescue effort. 

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As of noon today, a poll on Sina Microblog asking users for their views on the government's handling of the high-speed rail over the weekend had drawn more than 44,000 responses. 93% of respondents said the government's handling was "extremely poor, showing a total disregard for human life." A further 4% said they were "very dissatisfied." 

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Video has now been posted online of a press conference late Sunday, July 24, in which Wang Yongping (王勇平), a spokesman for China's Ministry of Railways, fielded questions from media on the recent high-speed train crash in Wenzhou. At one point a reporter asks how it was possible that a 4-year-old girl was found after a formal announcement was made that the search and rescue had been completed. Wang responds that this was a "miracle," drawing angry shouts from reporters. 

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"China, please slow your flying steps forward. Wait for your people, wait for your soul, wait for your morals, wait for your conscience! We don't want derailed trains, we don't want collapsing bridges, we don't want roads collapsing into pits, we don't want our homes becoming death traps. Move more slowly. Let every life have freedom and dignity, so that no person is cast aside by these times and so everyone can reach their destination safely. -- mourning for those who died in the Wenzhou train crash."

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