New Delhi: China, which is in the global crosshairs for origin and spread of Coronavirus that took lakhs of human lives, has faced several industrial explosions and disasters in last few years. Many lives were lost in these industrial disasters but it chose to brush them under the carpet, concealed the facts from the world and also tried to crush voices of dissent over its faulty industrial practices. All through this, China continues to maintain a veil of secrecy over its unethical and illegal practices so that it doesn’t attract world’s attention.
A fatal gas explosion killed at least 25 people and injured more than 130 at a market in Central China on June 13, 2021.The deadly blast in Central China is the most recent in a series of industrial disasters in the country. A gas leak at a plant in the northern Chinese city of Zhangjiakou, which is one of the host cities for the 2022 Winter Olympics, killed 24 people and injured 21 others in November of last year.
Three students were killed a month later in a laboratory bomb at a Beijing university, which blew out windows and reduced the structure to a charcoal shell. The explosion was generated by a scientific research experiment on wastewater treatment in the university’s environmental engineering laboratory.
In China, industrial accidents are widespread because the government prioritised economic expansion through rapid industrialization over environmental and health and safety concerns. Unless it’s a major calamity like the one that occurred in Tianjin, China’s northern port city, in 2015, most accidents don’t even make the news.
A series of explosions at a container storage depot in the Port of Tianjin killed 173 people and injured hundreds more on August 12, 2015. In order to conceal the origins of the explosions and the number of victims, the Chinese government censored both professional and social media coverage. China’s brazen and widespread disregard for safety norms, particularly those governing hazardous chemical storage and zoning, was exposed by the Tianjin disaster.
Although the number of industrial accidents have decreased significantly since China entered an economic boom in 2002, the country’s workplace safety regulations are still far from adequate. According to the Hong Kong-based China Labor Bulletin (CLB), these figures are lower due to changes in how workplace accidents are tallied by the Chinese Government.