Beijing: China on Wednesday sacked the head of its work safety regulator for suspected corruption even as death toll in twin huge explosions in Tianjin port city continued to rise two weeks after the country's worst industrial disaster and mounted to 139.
Yang Dongliang, currently under corruption investigation, was dismissed from his post as director of the State Administration of Work Safety, state-run Xinhua news agency reported citing a decision by the Organisation Department of the Communist Party of China's (CPC) Central Committee.
The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) announced the investigation into Yang for "severe violation of discipline and law" - the usual euphemism for corruption - on August 18, less than a week after blasts at a warehouse storing hazardous materials in the major port city.
Twin massive explosions and a series of minor ones had unleashed fireballs strong enough to light up the night sky and rain down debris, causing casualties running into hundreds.
The death toll in the August 12 blasts further rose to 139 as over 500 others remained hospitalised and another 34 missing, local officials said on Sina Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter.
61-year-old Yang, a member of the 18th CPC Central Committee, served as vice mayor of Tianjin Municipality from 2001 to May 2012 before he was appointed director of the State Administration of Work Safety.
Before 2001, he worked for the municipal government and state-owned firms in Tianjin as well as oil field firms in north China, the report said.
Yang was suspected of "severe violations of discipline and law", especially relating to the Tianjin tragedy, it was earlier reported, though today's announcement did not specify whether his removal was linked to the explosions.
He was seen accompanying Premier Li Keqiang to the blast site on August 16.
He allegedly signed a policy in 2012 allowing firms with a port operations license to store hazardous chemicals without special certification, state-run China News Service had said.