Chinese Premier Li Keqiang praised the victims of last week’s deadly blast in Tianjin as heroes and promised compensation to their families.
Li visited the blast site on Sunday and paid his respects to the victims’ relatives.
Bowing before a bank of photos of dead firemen, Li said all of them and the rest of the victims were heroes and will be honored accordingly, Ming Pao Daily reports.
The official death toll was 112 with another 95 missing as of Sunday, four days after a series of big explosions devastated a factory complex housing toxic chemicals.
Li said those responsible for the tragedy — the perpetrators as well as negligent officials — will be held accountable.
He told local officials to address public fears about possible toxins in the air, soil and water.
During a visit to hospitals crammed with the injured, Li promised the best medical resources and urged doctors to do their best to minimize fatalities or disabilities.
He came within 600 meters of the blast site, with no mask or protective clothing, despite fears of air contamination by toxic material.
Li was accompanied by Vice Premier Ma Kai, State Council Secretary General Yang Jing and Tianjin mayor Huang Xingguo.
Meanwhile, Li’s Tianjin visit five days after the tragedy fueled speculation over a power struggle in Beijing.
Zhang Li-fan, a Beijing-based historian, said previous major incidents had officials coming to the scene earlier rather than later.
Others said Li came only after the blast site had been declared safe, which detracted from the sincerity of his gesture.
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