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222 People Punished for Coal Mine Accidents
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Some 222 people were dealt with according to Chinese law as they were allegedly responsible for six catastrophic coal mine accidents that had occurred throughout the country since November last year.

According to a press release Friday on the investigation and handling of the six coal mine accidents, among the 222 people, 96 have been handed over to the judicial departments, 126 got disciplinary punishment, and 40 had been stripped of their administrative posts.

At a press conference jointly held Friday by the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) and the Ministry of Supervision, SAWS Director Li Yizhong said 528 people were killed in the six coal mine accidents.

He attributed the occurrence of the accidents to resistance to law enforcement and illegal production; production beyond the capacity, intensity and headcount allowed; chaotic management and impotent regulations; ineffective supervision by relevant departments and corruptive forces as protective umbrellas behind the accidents.

Li said the investigation results of the six catastrophic accidents indicated that some coal mines have not implemented the work safety policies, laws and regulations in a serious, responsible manner.

He accused some local authorities of not being effective enough to rectify or close those coal mines that do not meet the work safety standards and the illegally operated coal mines, and safety watchdogs and industry-specific regulators of failing to fulfill their responsibilities.

The liable persons involved in the six accidents have been punished in accordance with relevant laws and regulations and the Not-Let-Go Principle, Li said.

The official also said: "Where crimes are constituted, the offenders have been handed over to the judicial departments for justice."

(Xinhua News Agency December 24, 2005)

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