China holds 53 people in investigation of deadly landslide

BEIJING (AP) — China’s Cabinet said Friday that 53 people are in custody in an investigation into a landslide that killed 73 people and left four others missing in the southern city of Shenzhen last year.

The State Council’s investigation report said the landslide in which a mountain of construction waste that had been piled up against a hill collapsed during heavy rains onto an industrial park was an “extraordinarily serious production safety accident.”

The Dec. 20 landslide destroyed 33 buildings and resulted in “direct economic losses” of $132 million, the report said.

Shenzhen is a major manufacturing center, making everything from cellphones to cars, and it attracts workers from all parts of China.

In a rare move after the disaster, Shenzhen’s top officials, including the city’s Communist Party chief and its mayor, bowed deeply at a news conference to apologize.

A week after the landslide, a local government official heading the city’s urban management bureau killed himself by jumping from a building.