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No avoiding accountability for past mistake

China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-16 07:44

AN OFFICIAL INSPECTION TEAM assigned to double check the death toll in Typhoon Damrey that hit the Xiuyan Manchu ethnic autonomous county of Anshan in Northeast China's Liaoning province in 2012, has confirmed that the number was purposely understated by the local officials. Beijing Youth Daily commented on Thursday:

Thanks to the media coverage and public attention in the past few days, the provincial government demanded a full inspection into the claim by a local resident that the true death toll in the typhoon had been covered up.

The inspection team has found that the typhoon killed some 27 residents, which means it should have been deemed a major natural disaster according to the Criminal Law and the National Emergency Plan for Natural Disaster Relief.

That might explain why the officials then in Xiuyan chose to withhold the real death toll as they didn't want it known how ill-prepared the county was. Its disgraceful efforts to silence the truth have finally come to light more than four years later.

The inspection team should fulfill its investigative duties and disclose its findings in a timely manner. Moreover, all involved officials, regardless of their current ranks and positions, must be punished if they violated the relevant laws and regulations.

The reopening of investigation into the county's mishandling of the natural disaster shows the tide has turned when it comes to the handling of mistakes left over by history, which had often been ignored or played down if the case was closed.

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