Shanxi's acting governor, Li Xiaopeng, has visited the city where eight construction workers were killed on Christmas Day and promised a thorough investigation amid calls that he should be held accountable for the week-long cover-up of the accident.
Li, the son of former premier Li Peng , said he was angered and shocked by the cover-up of the explosion at the Nannuliangshan railway tunnel in Linfen, which also left five workers injured.
"I felt remorse that government departments at different levels had not paid proper attention to the accident for such a long time," he said during an inspection of the accident scene yesterday.
The local government did not reveal the accident until Monday, after widespread speculation on the internet that 60 workers had been killed.
In a statement, the provincial government criticised the project managers, saying they were suspected of covering up the accident by failing to report it to work-safety watchdogs. Four people have been arrested.
Scores of mainland internet users cast doubt on the government explanation, with some saying the project managers were just scapegoats and the cover-up was connected to Li Xiaopeng.
Li Xiaopeng said the provincial government would conduct a thorough inter-departmental investigation into the accident, adding that the media and internet users had played a crucial role in exposing the accident.
He also ordered China Railway Tunnel Group to investigate allegations that the contractor had not paid workers' wages and medical expenses.
Zhang Jikui , the group's general manager, said it would assist the investigation.