BEIJING, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- The month of August has been a bloody one for China, as the list of Chinese people who have died in man-made accidents has grown longer almost every day.
The latest victims included 36 people who burned to death on Sunday when a double-decker sleeper rammed into a methanol-loaded tanker near Yan'an in northwestern Shaanxi Province, the city in which the Communist Party of China (CPC) scored its largest revolutionary victory to become the country's ruling party.
In another accident on Sunday, a van collided with a heavy-duty truck on an expressway in southwestern Sichuan Province, killing 12 passengers in the van.
On Friday, a new bridge collapsed in northeastern Heilongjiang Province, killing three people and injuring five others.
Over the past week, fatal road accidents have also been reported in Gansu and Hebei provinces.
Such man-made disasters deserve more attention from the government as the CPC gears up for a key national congress later this year. And, for much of the general public, the more fatal accidents occur, the greater the government's credibility is undermined.
Widespread public complaint over the accountability of officials following the accidents shows that problems remain deeply rooted among Chinese society, even though the reform and opening-up drive over the past three decades have catapulted China into its spot as the world's second-largest economy.
What's going wrong?
"There must have been serious problems," Huang Yi, spokesman for the State Administration of Work Safety, said when asked about the bridge collapse at a press conference.
It could be that these fatal accidents are just occurring at the same time or it could be that complex problems exist due to the negligence of officials, but deadly accidents don't occur for no reason.
Every man-made accident -- be it the collapse of a bridge this month or the bullet train collision last year -- stems from something, and many suspect that dereliction of duty, a lack of proper supervision, abuse of power or corruption could be behind these accidents.
According to the State Administration of Work Safety, a total of 75,572 people died due to various kinds of accidents last year, including some 2,000 who died in colliery accidents.
Despite repeated calls to boost supervision, the frequency of such deadly accidents shows that some local officials have not learned enough from the past.
Over the years, many local officials have been single-minded in pursuing gross domestic product (GDP) growth, ignoring the government's basic function of protecting the people and heeding calls from the public.
This obsession with GDP data should not come at the cost of the people's safety.
As China currently stands at an important period of strategic opportunities interwoven with a time of frequent social conflicts, the balance between quality of life and appropriate GDP growth should be carefully handled for the sake of the people's well-being.
The public understands that it is not easy to rule a country like China, with a population of 1.3 billion people of varying interests.
As the ruling party in China, the CPC is confronted with growing dangers that include a lack of drive, incompetence, alienation from the people, a lack of initiative and corruption, as noted by President Hu Jintao at a gathering marking the 90th founding anniversary of the CPC.
In the worst case scenario, the government's failure to minimize deadly man-made accidents will mean that it loses the people's trust, which may prove to be the biggest challenge for the CPC when more than 2,000 delegates from across the country convene later this year to draw up the roadmap for the future of the Party and the country.