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Four officials under probe over fatal mine blasts


09:29, July 16, 2013

BEIJING, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Four Chinese officials are being investigated for alleged duty dereliction in two coal mine blasts that killed 53 people, the Supreme People's Procuratorate said in a statement on Monday.

The four officials are Li Shijun and Zhang Yuzhong, both former officials with the Work Safety Bureau in Baishan City of northeast China's Jilin Province, and Xu Shengxue and Wang Yuxi, who were officials with the Baishan Branch of Jilin Provincial Bureau of Coal Mine Safety.

On March 29, an explosion killed 36 people and injured another 12 at the Babao Coal Mine in the city of Baishan. The state-owned Tonghua Mining Group, the owner of the mine, reported 29 deaths.

Despite an order from provincial authorities that bans further mining, the group continued to send people into the colliery. Another blast that followed on April 1 killed 17 people and injured another eight.

The suspects failed to detect the mining group's breach of work safety regulations and allowed it to continue operation under dangerous conditions, which led to "extremely serious consequences," the SPP said.

The four officials have been taken into custody, according to the SPP.

The Babao Coal Mine employs more than 3,500 workers.

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