Chinese paper says Britain should have done more to prevent deaths inside truck: report

A state-backed Chinese newspaper on Friday placed at least some blame on Britain for not preventing the tragic deaths of 39 Chinese nationals whose bodies were discovered in the back of a semi-truck about 25 miles east of London.

The Global Times wrote an editorial claiming it was clear that Britain and "relevant European countries have not fulfilled their responsibility to protect these people from such a death."

Essex Police said 31 men and 8 women were found dead inside the truck container Wednesday at the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays. The truck’s driver, a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, was detained on suspicion of murder.

Reuters, which cited the paper, reported that China did not confirm that the dead were its citizens.

Authorities in Britain are investigating. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said embassy employees in the U.K. will assist in the investigation.

The paper wrote that even if it is confirmed that those in the truck were being smuggled, their deaths should have been prevented.

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“Imagine how thoroughly European countries would take measures if dozens of Europeans were collectively, tragically killed in some way,” the paper wrote, according to Reuters.

Fox News' Lucia I Saurez Sang contributed to this report