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31 officials probed for cover-ups in fatal coal mine accidents

Updated: Dec 11,2014 5:39 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China’s top procuratorate is investigating 31 officials this year for cover-ups in three coal mine accidents that killed a total of 39 people.

These officials, including coal industry administrators, work safety watchdog staff and town government officials, allegedly committed crimes including abuse of power, dereliction of duty and accepting bribes, according to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP).

A fire in a mine owned by the Rongningfeng Company of Lushan County in central China’s Henan province killed 24 people and caused direct economic losses worth more than 20 million yuan ($3.2 million) on Dec 22, 2009. The accident was concealed for four years.

In the same province, seven people were killed and another nine were injured in a coal mine flood in Gongyi City on Dec 22, 2013. Direct economic losses hit 15 million yuan. The town government, Dayugou Coal Mine Co., Ltd. and the owner of the coal mine were accused of withholding information.

Eight people died on July 5 this year when a colliery roof collapsed in northeast China’s Heilongjiang province. Work safety watchdog officials failed to find or check the coal mine’s illegal operations until the accident occurred, according to investigators.

All the officials under investigation have been placed under “compulsory measures,” which, according to China’s Criminal Procedure Law, include summons by force, bail, residential surveillance, detention and arrest, according to the SPP.

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