A former railway minister was among 54 officials found responsible for the crash, a Cabinet statement said Wednesday. Several were ordered dismissed from Communist Party posts but there was no word of possible criminal penalties.
The crash report was highly anticipated by the public. The disaster near the southern city of Wenzhou also injured 177 people and had triggered a public outcry over the high cost and dangers of the bullet train system, a prestige project that once enjoyed lofty status on a level with the country’s manned space program.
Regulations had required the report to be released by Nov. 20. When that date passed, the government offered little explanation, drawing renewed criticism by state media, which have been unusually skeptical about the handling of the accident and the investigation.