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Never pursue development at cost of lives, Xi warns


10:40, June 08, 2013

BEIJING, June 8 (Xinhua) -- President Xi Jinping has warned that China can never pursue development at the cost of people's lives, after a string of deadly accidents rocked the nation over the past week.

"Human's life is most precious and we can never pursue development at the cost of people's lives. This is a red line that cannot be overstepped," Xi, who is on a trip to America, issued an instruction on work safety on Thursday.

"Major accidents have occurred one after another and incurred heavy casualties and property losses. Great attention must be aroused," Xi ordered, according to a statement released by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China late Friday evening.

He urged governments at various levels to learn "the lesson paid for with blood" and conduct a thorough overhaul targeting workplace safety to eliminate potential hazards.

He also said that safety supervision and management must be improved and the safety accountability system be strictly implemented to prevent major accidents.

The State Council, China's cabinet, convened a national teleconference on production safety on Friday, on which Vice Premier Ma Kai announced that the overhaul will be carried out from early June to the end of September.

Ma urged local authorities to "use the iron hand" to crack down on illegal production operations, particularly in key sectors such as coal mining.

Premier Li Keqiang has also urged for drawing lessons from those accidents, rectifying existing problems and safeguarding the safety of people's lives.

The leaders' warnings came after a series of major accidents that struck the country over the past week.

The latest one involved a bus fire in eastern Chinese city of Xiamen Friday evening that left at least 42 people dead and 33 others injured.

On June 3, a fire killed 120 and injured 77 others in a poultry plant in northeast China's Jilin Province.

On June 2, an oil tank explosion at a PetroChina outlet in the port city of Dalian in northeast China's Liaoning Province left two people dead and another two missing.

On May 31, a fire triggered by short circuit ripped through a large grain storage center in northeastern China's Heilongjiang Province, engulfing 1,000 tonnes of grain stocks and incurring 3 million yuan (489,000 U.S. dollars) of economic losses.

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