China’s Troubled Railway Ministry Fires Spokesman

Following the crash of the high-speed train in Wenzhou, China’s Ministry of Railways has been targeted by citizens for its inept handling of the disaster. In particular, its spokesperson, Wang Yongping, has been criticized for his comments at a press conference that the discovery of a living child in the wreckage hours after rescue efforts had been terminated was a “miracle.” Wang has now been fired by the Ministry, the New York Times reports:

China’s state-run media, which reported the news, gave no reason for the dismissal of the ministry spokesman, Wang Yongping, the fourth ministry official to be fired since the July 23 accident near the city of Wenzhou, which killed 40 people and injured 191. But Mr. Wang’s hapless performance in answering the media’s questions about the crash appeared to be a likely explanation.

Asked why rescuers had pulled a toddler out of the wreckage alive many hours after the rescue effort had been officially called off, Mr. Wang said it was “a miracle of life.”

Asked why workers had buried a train car at the site of the accident before an official investigation had even begun, he said the wreckage had to be cleared to aid rescuers. “Whether you believe it or not, I believe it anyway,” he told reporters.

The powerful railways ministry has been under fierce criticism over the disaster. Critics have called for an independent investigation of the collision and a complete overhaul of the ministry.

See also a music video of a song by Chuanzi which mocks Wang’s statements.