September 14, 2008

Local Leaders Purged After China Mudslide

Chinese provincial officials were removed from their jobs Sunday as officials said the death toll from last week's deadly Shanxi mudslide reached 254.

Meng Xuenong, governor of Shanxi Province, tendered his resignation and Zhang Jianmin, the province's vice governor, was removed from his post at a Communist Party congress Sunday, the state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

The mudslide struck Monday at the Tashan Mine in Shanxi Province when a retaining wall holding back a storage pond burst, spilling rocks and mud down a hillside with such force that a building was pushed almost 50 feet. The slide buried a market and homes.

Xinhua said a preliminary investigation found that the mine was unlicensed and the storage pond filled beyond its capacity, a situation that turned dangerous when heavy rain drenched the area.