Premier Wen Jiabao said during his New Year visit to northwest
Province that production safety must be improved this year to
avoid major mining accidents.
Wen arrived in the Tongchuan Mining Bureau on New
Year's Day to visit family members of miners who had died in the
Chenjiashan Coal Mine gas explosion on November 28. In the evening,
he called a meeting of local leading officials and experts to
discuss the improvement of safety.
Early Sunday morning, the premier went to the
mourning hall for the 166 dead miners, laid a wreath and stood in
"This accident has taught us a lesson paid for in
blood," said Wen, after shaking hands with some of the bereaved.
"We must pay great attention to production safety and not let such
things happen again. We must hold ourselves responsible to the
miners, the people and the children."
During his visit to the family of Niu Tieqi, who
had been deputy chief engineer of the mine, he listened to
relatives recalling their memories of him.
Wen asked accompanying local officials to "do
whatever you can" to guarantee the basic livelihoods of victims'
families and to help survivors with medical expenses.
After meeting with rescuers and firefighters, who
saved 127 lives in the accident, the premier took a miners' vehicle
and went down a shaft of Xiashijie Mine. He extended New Year's
greetings to the miners working there, talked and ate lunch with
"Coal is the mainstay of China's energy supply,"
said Wen during his two-hour trip underground. "Miners deserve
attention, respect and care from the whole of society."
He said that, as mining is a high-risk industry,
safety must be guaranteed so that "all miners can return home safe
As he was about to leave the mining area, Wen urged
the local officials to find the cause of the accident and hold
those responsible accountable.
There were 3,413 coal mining accidents in China in
the first 11 months of 2004, claiming the lives of 5,286
(Xinhua News Agency January 4, 2005)