15 people under criminal investigation, 66 officials punished for gas explosion that killed 31
Published: Jan 27, 2024 09:25 PM


A total of 66 people holding public positions, including two officials registered at or supervised by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, have been held accountable for a gas explosion that killed 31 people in Yinchuan, capital city of Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region on June 21 of 2023, the central authorities announced on Saturday.

Fifteen people involved in criminal violations were under police investigation.

The blast occurred at a barbecue restaurant on a busy street in Yinchuan, when liquefied petroleum gas leaked from the restaurant, leaving 31 dead and seven injured.

The explosion is an incident caused by different parties, including a local firm's non-compliant delivery of poor-quality gas cylinders, the barbecue restaurant's illegal operation, and the failed fulfillment of responsibilities of local Party committee and government, the investigation report said, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

The investigation team has found that the direct cause of the explosion was local LPG delivery company's illegal distribution of "dual-valve cylinders" which use a gas-phase valve and a liquid-phase valve, and the restaurant staff mistakenly connected the gas-phase valve regulator to the liquid-phase valve.

When the staff noticed abnormality, they improperly dismantled and installed the regulator, causing a leakage of LPG. When they tried to address the situation, the valve was mistakenly opened in the opposite direction, resulting in a large amount of gas leakage and mixing with the air, reaching the explosive limit. When it encountered flame in the kitchen, an explosion occurred, leading to a fire.

After the fire broke out, the restaurant owner did not organize customers to evacuate, the only staircase passage was blocked by a mix of debris and large objects, and the second-floor windows facing the street were sealed and completely blocked by a steel billboard that was welded and anchored, severely impeding personnel evacuation and resulting in an increase in casualties.

The incident shows the perfunctory implementation by the local Party committee and government, chaotic management of gas operation and weak law enforcement inspections, the investigation report said.

Chen Chunping, vice chairman of the regional government of Ningxia, was given a warning within the Party, while Zhao Xuhui, Party chief of Yinchuan, the regional capital, was handed a severe warning. Both Chen and Zhao are standing committee members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Ningxia regional committee.

They have been subjected to disciplinary Party penalties for neglecting their duties.

Global Times