China mine accident cover-up leads to dismissal of officials

10:16, May 03, 2011      

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Officials responsible for covering up a coal mine accident that killed at least nine people in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province were dismissed while the mine's boss and managers were dealt with by police, local authorities said Monday.

Han Shuguo, deputy head of Didao District in the city of Jixi, was removed from his position, Fang Dongchu, a spokesman for the Jixi municipal government, confirmed.

Three other officials, including the director of the district's safety supervision and coal mine administration bureau Liu Chonghe, were also dismissed, Fang said.

Meanwhile, the coal mine's owner and managers were handled by police for further investigation, Fang added.

The mine owner confessed that nine miners had been killed in a gas explosion on April 26, Fang said, noting that further investigation was needed to determine the exact causes.

The cover-up was exposed when a joint provincial investigation team arrived in Jixi on Saturday to address rumors of a coal mine blast killing about 10 people.

Rescuers are working to retrieve the bodies of some deceased miners still buried underground, Fang said.
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