Officials jailed after colliery fatalities in central Chinese province

09:09, April 19, 2011      

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Authorities in China's central Henan Province gave prison terms to 61 officials involved in the three most deadly colliery accidents in the past two years, local authorities said Monday.

The statement, released by the provincial discipline inspection commission, came as the province announced that it would launch a six-month campaign in May to target corruption in its bustling mining industry.

After three coal mine blasts left 169 miners dead, the province meted out jail sentences to 61 officials convicted of accepting bribes, abandoning duty, and abusing power, it said.

Another seven officials received administrative or disciplinary reprimands for making illegal investments in the coal mine, it said.

A blast killed 76 miners in the No. 4 mine near the city of Pingdingshan on September 8, 2009. The investigation revealed that eight officials received 1.36 million yuan (208,000 U.S. dollars) in bribes from the mine's owner Li Xinjun, who was given a suspended death penalty in 2010.

Bribery also played a role in a mine blast that claimed 44 lives in Yichuan County on March 31, 2010. Another explosion in Pingdingshan killed 49 miners on June 21, 2010, after some officials ignored the order to cut the power supply to an illegal coal mine.

Source: Xinhua
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