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Jilin Vice-governor Apologizes to Harbin Residents

Vice-governor of Jilin Province Jiao Zhengzhong expressed his sincere sympathy and deep apologies to residents of Harbin, capital of neighboring Heilongjiang Province, northeast China, for the pollution of the Songhua River caused by blast in a chemical plant in Jilin.

Jiao, who is also secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Committee of Jilin City, where the blast took place, came to Harbin to discuss ways to treat the pollution on Wednesday and make an apology to Harbin residents on the pollution of the Songhua River, a major city water source, according to the city government of Harbin on Thursday. The blast took place at about 1:45 p.m. on Nov. 13 in a workshop of the No. 101 Chemical Plant under the CNPC Jilin Petrochemical Company based in Jilin City, some 100 km east to Changchun, the provincial capital. Five people were killed and about 70 people were injured.

Jilin provincial and Jilin city governments immediately closed the pipelines that caused the pollution.

"People of Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces shared water source from the same Songhua River and it was the obligatory duty of the two provinces to safeguard the mother river," said Shi Zhongxin, deputy secretary of the Harbin city CPC committee and mayor of Harbin.

Shi said the Harbin city government had informed local residents of the pollution situation and took emergency measures to deal with the pollution.

(Xinhua News Agency November 24, 2005)

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