27 face disciplinary or criminal charges for deadly ultramarathon race in China

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LANZHOU, CHINA (XINHUA) – Twenty-seven people, including several municipal government officials, face disciplinary punishment or criminal charges after being held responsible for a deadly ultramarathon race last month in which 21 runners died, local authorities announced here on Friday (June 11).

A 100km cross-country mountain race in the north-western province of Gansu turned deadly on May 22 as freezing rains, high winds and hail raked the competitors.

The race, which kicked off at 9am near the scenic Yellow River Stone Forest area in Jingtai, a county under the jurisdiction of Baiyin city, was affected by adverse weather conditions at around noon.

A landslide following the severe weather also hampered the rescue work, said officials from Baiyin, about 1,000km west of the Chinese capital Beijing.

The deaths of the 21 runners, from a participant pool of 172, had sparked public outrage over the organisers’ lack of contingency planning.

“Non-standard and unprofessional event operations led to the accident,” read the investigation report announced at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

Baiyin party secretary Su Jun and Baiyin mayor Zhang Xuchen are among those who have been given disciplinary punishment.

Ms Zhang Wenling was sacked as the magistrate of the Jingtai County, while Jingtai party secretary Mr Li Zuobi, who has died after the accident, was exempt from punishment.

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