Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China.
China’s industrial safety record is under scrutiny again after a massive explosion at a chemical factory on the country’s east coast last Thursday killed at least 78 people and left many more injured. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was on a state visit to Italy when the blast occurred, has ordered an investigation into the explosion and vowed greater attention to workplace safety amid a rising public outcry over the explosion.
Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical Company, which owns the chemical plant, is a repeat violator of environmental and safety regulations. It was reprimanded by regulators last year for poor fire safety and improper handling of hazardous chemicals, and personnel from the company were swiftly detained by police after the blast on Thursday, which earthquake monitors registered as a 2.2-magnitude tremor.