China has sacked the head of its work safety regulator for suspected corruption, following blasts that killed more than 100 people in the port city of Tianjin this month.
The Communist Party’s graft watchdog began an investigation into Yang Dongliang last week after the massive explosions occurred in a warehouse storing dangerous chemicals, Reuters reported, citing state news agency Xinhua.
A total of 139 people are now confirmed to have died, while 34 remain missing.
A brief statement carried by Xinhua, citing the party’s organization department, which is responsible for personnel decisions, said Yang had been stripped of his position as chief of the State Administration of Work Safety.
He is suspected of “serious breaches of discipline and the law”, the report said, using the usual euphemism for corruption.
The government has not explicitly linked Yang’s case to the Tianjin incident, but for more than a year, the firm that operated the chemical warehouse that blew up did not have a license to work with such dangerous materials.
Yang was vice mayor of Tianjin, a city of 15 million people, until 2012.
On Tuesday, Xinhua said five state-owned property developers will buy apartments hit by the blasts.
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