Linfen mayor ousted for mine blast

(China Daily/Xinhua)
Updated: 2007-12-20 07:49

The mayor of the city of Linfen in Shanxi Province has been removed from his post as the city's deputy Party chief after being found responsible for the coal mine blast that killed 105 and injured 18 others earlier this month, provincial authorities said Wednesday.

Li Tiantai was also expelled from the city's standing committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) for failing in his duty to supervise mine work safety, the Shanxi provincial CPC committee said in a notice.

The provincial CPC committee also suggested to the People's Congress of Linfen, the city's legislature, to remove him from the mayoral post.

He will be replaced by Xia Zhengui, the former mayor of the city of Jincheng, the notice said.

Investigations found colliery managers had delayed reporting the explosion on December 5 at the Xinyao Coal Mine in Hongtong county to local authorities.

The blast is believed to be the nation's second deadliest mining accident this year.

In August, 181 people died when heavy rain flooded two mines in Shandong Province.

Li issued a public apology about a week after the explosion, saying the tragedy, which made it hard for him to sleep, had revealed security loopholes in the city's coal mining industry.

Police detained 36 people allegedly linked to the explosion, including mine owner Wang Donghai. The authorities also cracked down on illegal coal mines following the blast.

Hongtong county made the headlines in summer when a scandal involving slave labor at a brick kiln there was exposed.

In June, 359 people including 12 children were rescued from illegal brick kilns in the province, 31 of them from Hongtong.

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