By Ben Blanchard
BEIJING (Reuters) - China called on Britain on Friday to seek "severe punishment" for those involved in the deaths of 39 people, believed to be Chinese nationals, found in a truck container near London, as a major state-backed paper said Britain should bear some responsibility for the case.
Paramedics and police found the bodies of 31 men and eight women on Wednesday on an industrial estate at Grays in Essex, about 20 miles (30 km) east of the British capital.
For years, illegal immigrants have stowed away in trucks while attempting to reach Britain, often from the European mainland. In 2000, 58 Chinese were found dead in a tomato truck at the port of Dover.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said British police were still carrying out their verification work and at present are not able to verify the nationalities of the deceased.
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