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10 families of China high-speed train crash victims accept compensation
BEIJING (AP) ' Ten families of the victims of a high-speed train crash have agreed to accept government compensation, state media reported Saturday. But others insisted the government pay more, even after the package was doubled.
Families who agreed will receive about $142,000 for each victim who died a week ago when one bullet train rammed into another that had stalled after being hit by lightning.
Forty people were killed in the accident in the eastern city of Wenzhou, and another 190 were injured, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
The crash has come to be seen as emblematic of the problems with China's breakneck development over the past three decades, sometimes achieved at the expense of public safety and the environment.
Hoping to assuage public anger, authorities nearly doubled their initial $78,000 compensation offer to $142,000. But many family members said that was still too little, and that the Ministry of Railways should take more responsibility for the accident.
"Our deceased relatives were in the prime of their lives, they have children and senior parents to support," said Chen Engfen, who refuses to accept anything less than $233,000, according to AP Television News.
Users of the popular Twitter-like site Sina Weibo posted millions of messages, many questioning official explanations of the crash and circulating amateur photographs and videos of the crash site.
Grieving relatives of victims held funerals Friday and Saturday.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said at a rare news conference Thursday that the crash was being investigated and those found responsible would be punished.