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An aerial view shows the chemical plant after an explosion in Yancheng in China’s eastern Jiangsu province, on March 21.
Source: AFP

China has taken “criminal coercive measures” against 26 people following a chemical plant explosion that killed 78 people and injured more than 600.

The plant, which exploded at 2:50 p.m. on March 21, was owned by Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical Company. It was located in Chenjiagang Industrial Park, in Yancheng, Jiangsu province, eastern China. The blast from the explosion damaged nearby buildings and vehicles. The Tianjiayi Chemical plant itself was flattened.

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Those facing criminal coercive measures for their roles in the explosion are employees of Tianjiayi Chemical, as well as its controlling shareholder Nijiaxiang Group, and organizations suspected of providing Tianjiayi Chemical with false evaluations for its projects, according to state news agency Xinhua.

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In China, criminal coercive measures include detainment, arrest, house arrest, residential surveillance, summons by force, and bail.

Local authorities said the Chenjiagang Industrial Park was to be closed, according to Xinhua.

In Yancheng, the Chief of the Communist Party in the city, Dai Yuan, ordered the chemical sector to “rectify practice and adopt high safety standards.”

Following the recent explosion, experts have been tasked with ramping up efforts to move hazardous chemical plants away from densely-populated areas, according to news provider China Daily. According to the report, China plans to correct, relocate, or close hazardous chemical plants located too close to residential areas, by 2025.

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