11/30/2006, 00.00
CHINA
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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.

Beijing(AsiaNews/Agencies) – Two managers of a coal mine in China have been convicted of "negligence" in relation to a very serious gas explosion that killed 166 miners two years ago, according to Xinhua.

The blast, one of the country's worst in decades, hit the Chenjiashan coal mine in Tongchuan, Shaanxi province, two days after the pit caught fire.

The court sentenced the mine manager, Liu Shuangming, and his deputy and chief engineer, Wang Youjun, to jail terms of five and a half and five years respectively.

"After the fire was put out, the two men ordered the miners to risk their lives resuming production without sufficient safety measures," Xinhua said. "Their action was extremely outrageous."

Meanwhile, an appeals court in Xinjiang yesterday upheld a lower court's sentence, handed down in June, which condemned five managers and technicians of a coal mine to jail terms of between three to seven years for a gas blast that killed 83 workers.

China can lay claim to the highest death toll of mining deaths, especially coal mine fatalities. The executives of government and privately owned plants push for intensive output, cutting back on safety measures to increase profits. Just last weekend, four coal mine accidents killed at least 88 people.

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