CHINA> Regional
Officials punished for Sept 21 fatal mine blast
Updated: 2008-09-22 16:18

ZHENGZHOU -- Three senior officials in Dengfeng City, in central China's Henan Province, have been punished for a fatal mine accident that killed 37 people on Sunday, the provincial department of supervision said Monday.

The department decided to issue a disciplinary warning within the Communist Party of China (CPC) to Zhang Xuejun, Communist Party chief of Dengfeng City, and proposed to dismiss mayor Wu Fumin and vice mayor Zhang Hongwei.

The dismissals must be approved by the local legislative body.

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The gas blast in the Xinfeng No. 2 Coal Mine in Dengfeng occurred early on Sunday, leaving 37 miners dead, said rescuers.

The officials were held accountable for the incident because the provincial government issued a circular on September 15, requiring all coal mines undergoing renovation to suspend operations.

However, the mine, operated by Guangxian Industrial and Trade Co., Ltd., which was in the category of mines under renovation, continued production at night. There were 108 workers underground at the time of the accident at 1:10 a.m.

Rescuers said 64 miners managed to escape, while seven injured workers, who were taken out of the pit safely, remained hospitalized.

The disciplinary body ordered the Zhengzhou municipal government, which administers Dengfeng City, to provide a review of the accident to the provincial government.

It ordered the mayor of Zhengzhou, Zhao Jiancai, and vice mayor Hu Quan to make self-criticism reports over their responsibility to the production accident to the provincial government.