China punishes 16 officials for school bus accident

August 2nd, 2012 - 2:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 2 (IANS) Sixteen officials in a northwest China city have been punished for a school bus crash that killed 19 kindergarten students last year, authorities announced Thursday.

The punished officials include Zhang Longjie, head of Zhengning county in Qingyang city, Lu Huadong, Qingyang’s education chief, and Zhang Yufeng, former head of Qingyang’s traffic police, according to an official statement.

It said the punishments ranged from warnings to revocations of party and government posts, but did not specify the punishment meted out to each official, reported Xinhua.

Those who were also found to be responsible will face criminal charges, the statement said.

Nineteen pre-schoolers and two adults died after the school bus they boarded - a nine-seat van carrying 64 passengers - collided head-on with a coal truck in Zhengning last November.

The accident garnered national attention, prompting authorities to order a school transportation overhaul, especially in rural areas where safety rules are not usually well enforced.

Li Jungang, board chairman of the Little Doctor Kindergarten as well as the owner of the school bus, was sentenced to seven years in prison by a court July 20.

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