AFP reports that a cover up over the deaths of at least five workers who were building a subway ahead of the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games has renewed questions about transparency in Beijing’s Games preparations.
Following city-wide celebrations marking the 500-day countdown to the 2008 Games, the workers building the city’s No. 10 subway line, which will connect to a separate line running directly to the Olympic Village, were killed in a still unexplained collapse.
The state-run construction company working on the subway line reportedly waited at least eight hours before notifying authorities about the accident, and according to Beijing authorities it was an attempt to cover up the incident.
A circular sent to other contractors working on the expansion said, “after the accident the construction company covered it up, which created an extremely bad social impact”, but five days after the incident Beijing city government has not yet provided information to the public about how the collapse had occurred.
Robert Broadfoot, head of Hong Kong based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, which advises corporations and institutions on investment in China and other Asian countries, said the tunnel collapse cover up showed much more needed to be done. “This highlights a huge problem of transparency. Right since the very beginning you have had precious little transparency attached to the Beijing Olympics. The cover up of the tunnel collapse is not a surprise given that history”.