Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Chinese police have arrested 12 people involved in various capacities in the gigantic explosions in Tianjin, a port city in northern China, that killed hundreds of people.
Meanwhile, the public prosecutor has opened an investigation against 11 local and port officials on charges of negligence for what is the most serious incident in recent years in the country’s industrial sector. According to the official Chinese Xinhua agency the arrested include the President and senior management of the chemical company where the explosion occurred.
On 12 August two huge explosions in a chemicals warehouse left at least 139 dead and hundreds wounded, destroying an entire area of the city. Authorities fear lethal pollution will result from the fumes as 700 tons of highly poisonous cyanide salts were stored in the exploded warehouse.
At the end of the Angelus, August 15, Pope Francis turned his attention to the population of Tianjin, assuring the victims and their families his prayers.
The 12 people arrested also included the owners of Rui Hai International Logistics (the president Yu Xuewei and the vice president Dong Shexuan), informally arrested last week and now remanded in custody. They have "confessed" that he had used ties and contacts with government officials, to obtain permits and facilities without authority or otherwise without having complied with all the safety standards.
More than 500 people are still hospitalized. The incident has raised outrage and anger across the country for repeated violations of safety standards by the company and the possible collusion of the government at a local and national level. Fear of possible environmental pollution and water pollution remain high given the many airborne contaminants in the explosion.
Meanwhile, the prosecutor of the Supreme People's Court of Tianjin confirmed that prosecutors in the city have opened an investigation against 11 officers for "abuse of power" and "dereliction of duty" in the context of the explosion.
The Chinese Communist authorities and state media have accused local officials and individuals for the disaster, rather than analyze the overall local industrial system. Accidents are common in China’s industrial sector, caused in most cases by corruption that prevent the implementation of laws on security.