Officials working for China's government and state-owned
enterprises have withdrawn 620 million yuan (78 million U.S.
dollars) they had invested in coal mines, following the
instructions of the central government, a government official
The authorities have so far received reports showing 5,711
officials had invested 700 million yuan in coal mines, even though
they are banned by government and party rules from engaging in
private business, Sun Huaixin, deputy director of law enforcement
for the Ministry of Supervision, was quoted as saying in a report
seen Tuesday on the website of the official People's
He said 144 officials have been penalized for failing to report
and withdraw their investments.
The withdrawal of money is a complicated process which needs
time, Sun said.
The Chinese government issued an ultimatum in August 2005
requiring government officials and leaders of state-owned
enterprises to report their investments in coal mines and to divest
their shares by September 22, 2005.
The move was part of the government's efforts to curb rising
accidents in the coal mining industry, where small and unsafe coal
mines, some of them illegal, often fail to observe safety rules
because they are protected by local officials who have interests in
(Xinhua News Agency June 28, 2006)