Chinese officials punished over ultramarathon deaths

Officials punished over runner deaths
The deaths sparked public outrage on Chinese social media. Source: Reuters
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: China has punished 27 government officials over the tragic deaths of 21 ultramarathon runners last month.

Athletes taking part in the 100km ultramarathon in Gansu province were hit by freezing rains and high winds.

Those who died had suffered from hypothermia, according to state media.

In the wake of the incident, China announced it was suspending all high risk sports events lacking clear oversight, safety standards and rules.

On Friday, a report into the race was released, which said “non-standard and unprofessional event operations led to the accident”.

Following the report’s release, Xinhua, the state-run media outlet, announced that the officials inlcuding head of Jingtai County, where the race took place, had been removed from her post.

The Communist Party chief of the city of Baiyin and the local mayor have also been disciplined. Other officials were given warnings and demerit ratings.

Zhang Xiaoyan, the owner of the company that organised the ultramarathon, has been detained and faces criminal charges.

Separately, the government has also announced that Jingtai Party Chief Li Zuobi died in what the state media described as an apparent suicide.

The ill-fated long race took place in Yellow River Stone Forest, a tourist site in Gansu province, on 22 May.

Runners set off at 09:00 local time, with some wearing just shorts and T-shirts.

Surviving participants said the forecast had predicted some rain and wind, but nothing as extreme as what they experienced.

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