Chinese authorities say 11 people were killed when a roof collapsed at a high school’s gymnasium in the extreme northeast of the country.
BEIJING — Authorities said on Monday, 11 people were killed when a roof collapsed at a junior high school’s gymnasium in far northeastern China.
The incident happened on Sunday in the city of Qiqihar and the last victim was pulled from the rubble on Monday morning. The official Xinhua News Agency said construction work at the school may have been the cause, after workers stored materials on the roof of the gymnasium that was soaked in rainwater.
Xinhua News Agency said 19 people were present in the gymnasium of the 34th middle school, but did not give details on how many students. Social media and news website Baidu posted footage of angry parents complaining about what they see as a lack of communication from the authorities.
Such expressions of anger and defiance are often quickly suppressed by police and government agencies worried about social unrest. The ruling Communist Party does not allow a challenge to its power and seeks to retain full control of the press and social media.
Construction and industrial accidents are common in China, largely due to companies ignoring safety standards and corruption or the carelessness of local government agencies.
Those problems are especially acute in second- and third-tier cities like Qiqihar, located in China’s iron belt Heilongjiang province bordering Russia, which has seen large-scale economic decline and outbound migration in recent years.