Future of Shanxi Governor Uncertain After Chemical Spill Coverup

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Shanxi Province authorities are taking the heat for a second major cover-up in a matter of weeks. On New Year’s Eve, a chemical called aniline spilled into the Zhouzhang River from the Shanxi Tianji Coal Chemical Industry Group in Changzhi City. However, it was not reported by authorities until January 5th.

Authorities in Shanxi Province didn’t inform authorities in Handan, a Hebei Province city further downstream.

People are now looking for someone to blame, and their gaze is pointing towards acting Shanxi Governor and princeling Li Xiaopeng. Now, Li Xiaoping is the son of former Chinese premier Li Peng. Many people believe Li Xiaopeng directly covered up the spill.

It has Handan City residents up at arms.


[Miss Li, Handan City Resident]:
“It should have promptly notified us. It’s a bit late after four to five days. This is a matter of life and health, right?"

As a result, Handan’s water supply was adversely affected. People rushed to buy bottled water fearing to drink tap water, and stores are now completely sold out.


People say their health is still a major concern.


[Miss Li, Handan City Resident]:
"Some people say the water isn’t good enough to drink yet. Before the water was shut off, I did not know, including many in our unit. I am sure many drank the contaminated water during those days.”



[NTD Reporter]:
"Do you worry about your own health now?"

[Miss Li, Handan City Resident]:
"Yes, I do. I do not know the specifics, but I am certain something chronic, like slow poisoning taking place in my body. I would like to go to the hospital for a check up.”


Changzhi City News Office Director Wang Yiping said: “If the pollution is not beyond the Changzhi border, it does not need to be reported to the provincial office. We can take care of it ourselves.”



However, villagers say no one informed them of the leakage. They only saw a written notice saying “People and animals are prohibited from drinking river wastewater" on January 5.

Li Xiaopeng is also taking heat for allegedly covering up an explosion on a tunnel in Linfen that killed at least eight workers. Authorities only confirmed that incident after repeated calls for information on the Internet.

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