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17 killed, 400 injured in a blast at a warehouse in China’s Tianjin city

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Photo Credit: www.siasat.com
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Beijing: At least 17 people have been killed and 400 injured in a blast at a warehouse in China’s Tianjin city late Wednesday.

Photo Credit: www.siasat.com
Photo Credit: www.siasat.com

The blast ripped through the Ruihai warehouse, which stores dangerous goods, at 11.20 p.m. Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Two firefighters were “out of contact” and four injured during the rescue, according to the Tianjin fire-brigade.

Rescue operations were on to bring out those trapped inside the blast site.

Lu Yun, head of the Taida Hospital, which has admitted around 150 injured people, told Xinhua that the injuries were mostly from broken glass or stones.

Locals said flame lit up the sky and a blast with a big noise blew up dust dozens of meters high. The explosion also shattered glass windows. The shock-waves were felt kilometers away.

As of 3.00 a.m. Thursday, minor fires and blasts could still be seen from a far distance.

(IANS)

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Tibetan Activist Sentenced to 5 Years of Imprisonment in China

A Tibetan education activist was on Tuesday sentenced to five years in prison by a Chinese court for inciting separatism, Amnesty International (AI) said, calling the sentence "unjust" and urging his immediate release.

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A Tibetan education activist was on Tuesday sentenced to five years in prison by a Chinese court for inciting separatism, Amnesty International (AI) said, calling the sentence “unjust” and urging his immediate release.

The main evidence against Tashi Wangchuk, who was sentenced by a court in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai province, was a 2015 video by the New York Times about his campaign for saving the Tibetan language, according to his lawyer.

“Today’s verdict against Tashi Wangchuk is a gross injustice. He is being cruelly punished for peacefully drawing attention to the systematic erosion of Tibetan culture,” AI East Asia Research Director Joshua Rosenzweig was cited as saying by Efe news.

Before his arrest, the 31-year-old activist had expressed concern over the fact that many Tibetan children could not fluently speak their native language, contributing to the progressive extinction of the Tibetan culture.

Representational Image: Tibetan Teachings
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Tashi must be immediately and unconditionally released,” demanded AI, pointing out that the activist had already spent two years in detention without access to his family.

Rosenzweig claimed that Tashi Wangchuk “was a human rights defender and prisoner of conscience who used the media and China’s own legal system in his struggle to preserve Tibetan language, culture and identity”.

In the New York Times video, the activist had highlighted “the extreme discrimination and restrictions on freedom of expression that Tibetans face in China today”.

Also Read: An Attempt to Preserve Ancient Tibetan Literature

Non-profit Human Rights Watch (HRW) also criticized the prison term for Tashi Wangchuk, whose “only crime was to peacefully call for the right of minority peoples to use their own language”, a right safeguarded by the Chinese Constitution.

“His conviction on bogus separatism charges show that critics of government policy on minorities have no legal protections,” said HRW China Director Sophie Richardson. (IANS)

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