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54 to be punished in China train crash

54 to be punished in China train crash
A magazine featuring a story about last week's deadly high-speed train crash is displayed on a news stand in downtown Beijing on August 2, 2011. The Chinese government is wrestling with a serious backlash over its handling of a deadly high-speed train crash, with critics saying the government is more concerned with preserving its own image than with public safety. China implemented a blackout on news coverage of the disaster that resulted in some critical newspaper articles. UPI/Stephen Shaver | License Photo

BEIJING, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Fifty-four people will be punished in the summer's fatal high-speed train crash, China's State Council announced Wednesday.

A final investigation report, released Wednesday, indicated the crash resulted from major design flaws in train operating equipment, lax safety controls and poor emergency response to equipment failure, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

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The State Council said China's former Railway Ministry Commissioner Liu Shijun and Deputy Commissioner Zhang Shuguang, along with China Railway Signal and Communication Corp. Chairman Ma Cheng, were the most culpable in the crash, Xinhua said.

On July 23, a high-speed train struck a stalled train near Wenzhou in Zhejiang province, killing 40 people and injuring 172. The report said a lightning strike caused one train to lose power and a signal failure led to the other train rear-ending the stalled train.

China Railway Signal and Communication Corp. manufactured the railway signaling system.

Police and prosecutors also are conducting investigations into whether the accident constitutes a crime, the State Council said.

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