Tianjin blasts: 11 officials detained for negligence

World Today

A number of local officials in Tianjin have been put under criminal investigation for misconduct after the warehouses explosion that took more than 100 lives, Xinhua reported.

Related: CCTV America’s Tianjin coverage

The officials being investigated mainly for breach and neglect include the head of the local transport office and the deputy director of the local production safety watchdog.

A supervisor from the Ministry of Transport and a retired local official previously in charge of ports management in Tianjin are also among the 11 detained.

The local transport regulation committee, overseeing hazardous substance trading, licensed Rui Hai International Logistics, the firm to which the exploded warehouses belong, for chemicals storage. However, according to Xinhua, the investigation shows that the license “was issued in violation of the regulation.”

The company has also seen several managers brought into custody or put under house arrest.

The removal of the head of state work safety watchdog, Yang Dongliang, was announced yesterday.

But officials haven’t confirmed if his sacking is in direct connection to the deadly explosion. According to Xinhua, Yang is suspected of “serious breaches of discipline and law.”

Global People, a subsidiary of China’s mainstream newspaper People’s Daily, wrote that Yang, the head of the rescuing team in the Tianjin explosion until his removal on Aug. 18, could be sacked for being implicated in the case of Zhou Yongkang, the former security chief and standing committee member of the Communist Party of China’s Political Bureau, who has been sentenced to life in prison.

The death toll from the Tianjin warehouse explosions has risen to 145 as the bodies of more missing victims are found. Twenty-eight others are still unaccounted for.