Fourteen killed in Chinese restaurant blast

Fourteen people were killed and 47 injured when a blast tore through a restaurant in northern China, state media said, with initial investigations pointing to a gas leak as the likely cause.

The explosion occurred in the city of Jinzhong in Shanxi province, which lies to the west of Beijing, on Friday evening, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The blast shattered windows of buildings near the two-storey restaurant, which served hot pot -- a popular Chinese kind of stew.

Xinhua quoted local investigators as saying that 17 of the injured were in a serious condition.

China has a notoriously poor health and safety record, blamed on a combination of poor regulations, lax enforcement and corruption.

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