Chinese official ends life after landslide disaster

Police in southern China said today a local government official has killed himself, a week after a landslide from a pileup of construction waste in his city left scores missing and presumed dead.

A statement from the Shenzhen police said the head of the Urban Management Bureau in the city's Guangming New District jumped to his death from a building on Sunday.

The official was in charge of an agency responsible for regulating a waste heap that collapsed last week, which claimed the lives of more than 70 people.

The government has not blamed anyone for the disaster in the southern city of Shenzhen on 20 December, when the dump overflowed and engulfed 33 buildings in an industrial park, but on Saturday it blamed breaches of construction safety rules.

The official was identified only by his surname, Xu. No further details were given. Police also made no link between Xu's death and the disaster.

The government had warned earlier that those held responsible would be "seriously punished in accordance with the law".

In the 20 December disaster, a mountain of construction waste collapsed amid heavy rains onto an industrial park in Guangming New District, killing one person and leaving 75 missing and presumed dead. (See: Mountain of rubble collapses in China; 91 missing)

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