AUGUST 31ST 2015
DECISIVE MEASURES TAKEN IN THE WAKE OF TIANJIN’S EXPLOSIONS.
Chinese authorities have been busy planning and implanting important measures to avoid a new tragedy. The Tianjin explosions killed over 150 people, and several remain missing.
One of the first efforts has been the control of online rumours. 197 people have been arrested for spreading rumours on social media about the recent stock market crash and the explosions in Tianjin just this month. According to the Ministry of Public Security, rumours “caused panic, misled the public and resulted in disorders in stock market or society.”
The aftermath of Tianjin’s blasts has left 150 dead, 367 people remain in hospital, and 23 are still missing. The new challenge for local authorities is dealing with reconstruction and compensations for local residents. Several protests have followed the explosions, and rumours of political instability have flourished.
In order to stabilise the situation, 11 ‘negligent’ government and port officials have been detained. Additionally, 12 executives from Ruihai Logistics –the company behind the explosions –have also been arrested.
Last week, five State-owned property developers in Tianjin announced that they will work together purchasing, renovating, and reselling blast-damaged apartments. The companies are working closely with the local government in order to comply with new regulations.
The most important measure to be taken relate to urban safety concerns. About 1,000 chemical plants will be relocated or upgraded, meaning an investment of 400bn yuan. Additionally, a new draft of the country’s air pollution law provides greater transparency and stipulates that air pollution following environmental emergencies like in Tianjin must be controlled and informed to the public.
It seems clear now that lack of regulations and enforcement were the detonator of the explosions in Tianjin. As stated by the New York Times, Rui Hai represents the high cost of rapid industrialisation in a system taken by corruption. These two deep-rooted ailments need to be addressed. So far, Xi Jinping’s sustainable development and anti-corruption campaigns might be on the right track. Nevertheless, there is much to correct along the way.
Annex Asia Publishing