Beijing Says 6 Workers Have Died on Olympic Projects

January 29, 2008

A Chinese official said six workers have died over the last five years working on venues for the Beijing Olympics.

Ding Zhenkuan, deputy chief of Beijing’s Municipal Bureau of Work Safety, said two of those deaths took place in 2006 and 2007 at the 91,000-seat National Stadium. He did not specify where the other deaths took place.

He also said there was one injury that required hospitalization and three that did not.

Known as the “Bird’s Nest,” the National Stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies for the games and is sure to become the architectural symbol of the Aug. 8-24 Olympics.

Earlier this month, The Times newspaper of London reported that at least 10 workers had died working on the venue.

“China has systematically covered up the accidental deaths” since construction began on the project in 2003, the newspaper said.

Li Yizhong, minister of the State Administration of Work Safety, said last week he was unaware of work-related deaths on the project but promised to investigate.

The Times said Chinese authorities have covered up the deaths and doled out large compensation payments to guarantee the silence of fellow workers who witnessed the accidents.

The Times said its information came from dozens of interviews conducted over six months.

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