Chinese accused of covering up school collapse

Friday, October 18, 2002

BEIJING -- An elementary school in western China collapsed onto more than 50 students, killing at least five and injuring dozens more, authorities and a human rights group said Thursday. The rights group blamed shoddy building materials and accused police of covering up the accident.

The accident Oct. 9 at Bacun Primary School in Suining, in the western China province of Sichuan, happened at 3 p.m. while students were in class, the New York-based group Human Rights in China said. It said the students and a teacher named Miss Duan were buried alive when the building collapsed.

One student died at the scene, the rights group said, and more than 30 were "seriously injured." Four of those later died in hospitals, the group said.

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