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China accused of cover up after fatal high-speed rail collision

Meanwhile, Japanese media reports that a train company wrote to China expressing concerns over trains being driven above recommended max speeds.

Rescuer workers at the scene of the Wenzhou rail crash.
Rescuer workers at the scene of the Wenzhou rail crash.
Image: ChinaFotoPress/Photocome/Press Association Images

Updated at 13:00

CHINA HAS BEEN accused of attempting to cover-up the scale and causes of the weekend’s train collision by banning journalists from investigating the circumstances of that crash.

The collision of two bullet trains on a bridge in Wenzhou, which killed at least 38 people, has raised questions over China’s high-speed rail roll-out.

The government issued media directives on Sunday advising journalists that the “theme” for the crash “from now on will be known as ‘in the face of tragedy, there’s great love’,” Reuters reports. It also told media not to “elaborate”, “question” or send reporters to the crash site.

Chinese internet users have complained about the government’s attitude to the press following the accident, the Guardian reports, with blogger kangfu xiaodingdang quoted as saying: “We have the right to know the truth!”

Bloomberg reports that the government has ordered a two-month-long rail safety review and fired three officials in the wake of the crash. A statement from the Ministry of Railways said the review would work to “resolutely prevent” such an accident occurring again.

According to Japanese media, bullet train manufacturer KHI wrote to China expressing concerns at how quickly trains based on its models were being driven in China. Kyodo and the Japan Times report that the recommended maximum speed of the trains is between 200 kph and 275 kph, but that China has been operating some commercial routes at 350 kph.

The cause of the weekend’s crash has not been established, but it is thought that one train rear-ended another which had stopped on the line.

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China’s Xinhua news agency has been focusing on the rescue efforts, reporting that friends and relatives of passengers are working together to locate loved ones. It also reports that all of the bodies recovered from the crash so far have been identified and claimed by their families.

A four-year-old child was reportedly found alive 21 hours after the crash.

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