Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fifty-four people are responsible

A government report released today indicates that 54 people are to blame for the train accident earlier this year in China.

Forty people died as a result of the "serious design flaws and major safety risks" that were identified. The Associated Press picks up the story.
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.
The report affirmed earlier government statements that a lightning strike caused one bullet train to stall and then a sensor failure and missteps by train controllers allowed a second train to keep moving on the same track and slam into it.
Those singled out for blame included former Minister of Railways Liu Zhijun, a bullet train booster who was detained in February amid a graft investigation. Also criticized was the general manager of the company that manufactured the signal, who died of a heart attack while talking to investigators in August.
The decision to assign blame to one figure who already has been jailed and another who is dead, along with mid-level managers who have been fired, suggests any additional political fallout will be limited.

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