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China's cabinet approves penalties in major work accidents
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08:17, May 27, 2009

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The State Council, China's Cabinet, has approved a decision to impose harsh criminal and disciplinary penalties on 169 people held responsible for five major work-related accidents over the past two years, the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) announced Tuesday.

SAWS said cases involving 131 people had been handed over to judicial departments for criminal prosecution.

The five accidents included a mine blast in Linfen in north China's Shanxi Province that killed 105 on Dec. 5, 2007, a train collision in east China on April 28 last year that claimed 72 lives, and a landslide at an unlicensed iron ore tailings facility, also in Linfen, that killed 277 people. These five accidents are profiled below.


The blast occurred at 11:15 p.m. on Dec. 5 at the Xinyao Coal Mine, killing 105 miners and injuring 18 others. Losses were estimated at 42.75 million yuan (about 6 million U.S. dollars).

Authorities said 78 people bore some responsibility for the accident, and 39 were referred to judicial bodies for criminal prosecution. Wang Donghai, the ultimate owner of the mine, and Wang Hongliang, legal representative, were sentenced to life in prison. Miao Yuanli, former vice mayor of Linfen, received a 14-year sentence.

The other 39 received internal disciplinary penalties. Wang Guozheng, director of Shanxi Provincial Construction Department, and Jin Shanzhong, then vice governor of Shanxi Province, were given severe inner party warnings. Li Tiantai, deputy party chief and mayor of Linfen, was given a severe inner party warning and demoted.

Ruizhiyuan Coal Mining Co. Ltd., which owned the coal mine, was fined 185.2 million yuan and closed.


A high-speed train from Beijing to the coastal city of Qingdao in Shandong Province derailed and struck another train in Zibo's Zhoucun District on April 28, 2008, leaving 72 dead and another 416 injured. It was the worst train accident in a decade. Losses were estimated at 41.92 million yuan.

An investigation showed the train was running at 131 kilometers per hour at the time of the accident, while the speed limit of that section was 80 km/hr.

Authorities determined that 37 people bore responsibility for the accident. Six people, including Guo Jiguang, vice executive director of the Jinan Railway Bureau, were referred to judicial departments for criminal prosecution.

Thirty-one people received inner party disciplinary punishment or administrative punishment. Chen Gong, head of the Jinan Railway Bureau, was dismissed. Chai Tiemin, then the Party chief of the bureau, was dismissed. Hu Yadong, vice minister of the Railway Ministry, had a serious demerit entered on his record. Liu Zhijun, railway minister, had a demerit entered on his record.


On June 13, 2008, an explosion occurred in a colliery of the Anxin Coal Mining Co. Ltd. in Xiaoyi City, Shanxin Province, which killed 35 people and injured 12 others. One person has never been found. Losses totaled 12.91 million yuan.

Illegal homemade explosives concealed in the colliery tunnel ignited on their own and triggered the blast, according to investigators.

Fifty people were held responsible for the accident, and 26, including Tian Yun, head of the mine and legal representative of Anxin company, were referred to judicial departments for criminal prosecution.

Twenty-four people, including Zhang Zhongsheng, vice mayor of Luliang City, and Zhang Xuguang, mayor of Xiaoyi City, received inner party disciplinary or administrative punishment.

The company was fined 38.46 million yuan and all its illegal gains were confiscated. The company's business license was revoked and it was ordered to close.


The collapse of an unlicensed iron ore tailing pond triggered a massive landslide on Sept. 8, 2008 in Xiangfen county of the coal-rich Shanxi Province. The landslide buried an outdoor market near a village of more than 1,000 residents, killing 277 people and injuring 33. Four people were never found. Losses were put at 96.19 million yuan.

Authorities said 113 people had responsibility for the accident. Among those, 51 faced criminal charges and 62 received inner party disciplinary or administrative punishments.

Among those facing charges were Zhang Peiliang, board chairman of the Xinta Mining Ltd. Co., or the owner of the mine; Kang Haiyin, Communist Party chief of Xiangfen County; Li Xuejun, head of Xiangfen County; Liu Shuyong, chief engineer of Shanxi Provincial Land and Resources Bureau, and Su Baosheng, deputy head of Shanxi Provincial Work Safety Supervision Administration.

Xia Zhengui, secretary of Linfen city's Party committee, was given an inner-party penalty. Liu Zhijie, Linfen's then mayor, and Zhou Jie, then vice mayor of Linfen, were dismissed. Zhang Genhu, head of Shanxi Provincial Work Safety Supervision Administration, had an internal demerit entered in his record.


The fire on Sept. 20, 2008 at Fuhua Coal Mine in Hegang City killed 31 people and caused losses of 15.65 million yuan.

The accident was determined to have been caused by the spontaneous combustion of coal, but 22 people were held responsible for bad management.

Nine people, including Wang Qingyun, an investor in Fuhua Mining Co., Ltd., faced criminal charges.

Thirteen people received disciplinary penalties. Wang Rui, then vice mayor of Hegang, was included, among others.

The company's business license was suspended and it was forced to close.


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