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  • » 08/30/2005, 00.00


    Guangdong Governor admits responsibility for death of 123 miners

    Miners were trapped in flooded mineshaft in early August. For the first time, a government official admits responsibilities to such disasters.

    Beijing (AsiaNews/SCMP) – Guangdong authorities yesterday officially abandoned efforts to find the bodies of miners trapped at the flooded Daxing Colliery in Meizhou. Zeng Haiying, spokesman for the Meizhou government, said all 123 miners were now considered dead.

    Earlier reports said the men were trapped when the colliery was flooded at the beginning of this month. Recovery operations were stopped to avoid serious subsidence likely caused by 23 days of pumping floodwater from the shafts. Only six bodies have been recovered so far.

    Guangdong Governor Huang Huahua took responsibility for the disaster along with Guangdong Communist Party Secretary Zhang Dejiang. For the first time, a political leader admits responsibility for such an incident.

    Mr Huang is said to have engaged in self-criticism at a prefecture-level meeting normally attended by party bosses and mayors.

    Political experts stress that practising self-criticism "is a very serious thing" to do and "is different from saying you will take responsibility." But self-criticism within the administration might allow Huang to "save face".

    In 2005, some 2,700 people died in mining accidents in China. Greedy mine owners who disregard safety regulations and requirements and complacent local authorities are the main culprits.

    Following the most recent incidents in August, local authorities have started to crack down and have shut dozens of mines.

    After recovery operations were called off for the 123 trapped miners, Zeng Haiying said the "next important task is to handle the compensation for relatives of the miners."

    Although he declined to reveal how much each family would receive, it is understood that payouts of 200,000 yuan (around US$ 25,000) have been agreed.

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    See also

    26/09/2006 CHINA
    2,900 die in Chinese mines over 8 months

    Although the extent of disasters is less this year, the situation remains serious despite government commitment. Official sources pointed to "collusion" between government officials and coal mine owners as being one of the causes.

    15/03/2005 CHINA
    Mine explosion in northern China kills 16

    30/11/2006 CHINA
    Two managers condemned for death of 166 miners in Shaanxi

    They received five-year jail terms for "negligence". After a fire broke out in their mine, they ordered miners to resume production; 166 were killed in a blast shortly afterwards.

    25/02/2005 CHINA
    The inexorable slaughter of Chinese miners: An overview

    07/11/2005 CHINA
    Mining executives to go down into the mines
    This directive comes at a time when accidents continue unabated. In Hebei province dozens of miners die in cave-ins in three gypsum mines. Other serious accidents occur in Hunan and Hubei provinces.

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