County and town chiefs will be degraded or removed from their posts if illegal coal mines are found in regions under their jurisdiction, according to new State Council regulations.
The regulations, which have been subscribed by Premier Wen Jiabao, said lower-level officials must be held to account if they break the law.
Staff of government departments and state-owned enterprises areforbidden to buy shares of mines, the regulations said. Offenders will also face punishments.
The regulations clarify 15 "big, lurking dangers" at coal mines, including production exceeding a mine's capacity or with the concentration of methane exceeding its upper-limit level.
Mines should be ordered to stop production once such dangers come to light, said the regulations, which were put into effect on Sept. 3.
(Xinhua News Agency September 6, 2005)