BEIJING (AFP) - A Chinese court jailed 53 people on Monday (Nov 30) after convicting them on charges including bribery and negligence over a massive chemical factory explosion in eastern China last year that killed 78 people.
Executives and employees of Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical company received sentences ranging from 18 months to 20 years in prison, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
A handful of local officials also received jail terms.
The court in Jiangsu's Yancheng city found that the company knowingly produced and stored hazardous chemicals and waste material despite "storage venues that did not meet safety requirements".
It also found that six local government agencies - including the city's environmental protection authorities - had falsified documents in order to hide the risk posed by Tianjiayi's activities, with some officials accepting bribes.
The explosion, sparked by a fire in Tianjiayi's fertiliser factory, flattened the surrounding industrial park, blew out windows and dented metal garage doors of buildings as far as 4 km from the site.
Deadly industrial accidents are common in China, where safety regulations are often poorly enforced.
In 2015, massive chemical blasts in the northern port city of Tianjin killed at least 165 people.