At Least 2 Dead In China Steel Factory Explosion

HONG KONG (Kyodo) -- An explosion at a steel factory in northern China's Hebei Province killed at least two people, a government spokesman said Tuesday, but a human rights monitor claims four died and some 20 were injured.

The Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy charged the deadly gas explosion at the Tangshan Iron and Steel Co. in Tangshan City was omitted by mainland media because it involves a listed company.

Tangshan Iron and Steel is listed on the Shenzhen stock market.

The center said the injured were admitted to several hospitals in the city.

A municipal government spokesman, identified only by surname Chen, told Kyodo News, "A valve in a pipeline erupted, killing two people, not four. I don't have information on the injured."