July 29, 2008

China Punishes 34 People for Coal Mine Blast

Text of report in English by official Chinese news agency Xinhua (New China News Agency)

[Xinhua: "China Punishes 34 People for Coal Mine Blast"]

BEIJING, July 29 (Xinhua) - A total of 34 people held responsible for a coal mine explosion in central China's Henan province were punished for malpractice, the state work safety watchdog said on Tuesday.

Cao Xinyi, owner of Wangzhuang colliery in Baofeng county, Pingdingshan city and a further 15 people faced legal charges, according to the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS).

The other 18 employees of local authorities, including the head of Pingdingshan coal industry bureau and the department chief of the county police, were given either party discipline or administrative punishments. However SAWS declined to give further details of the punishments.

The mine was shut down by the local government after the accident. In addition it was deprived of its illegal income of 12.05 million yuan (about 3 million US dollars) and fined the same amount.

A gas explosion shook Wangzhuang colliery last April, leaving 31 miners dead and nine injured. A second blast injured 15 rescue workers.

Rescuers said the absence of the mine owner was a major hindrance to rescue work as no geological information was available. They said the shafts were poorly designed with inefficient ventilation.

Originally published by Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 1312 29 Jul 08.

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