China's safety watchdog said on Thursday it has punished 133 people who were held responsible for five serious accidents that claimed 249 lives.
Fifty-one people have been transferred to judicial departments while the other 82 government officials at city and county levels have been disciplined, said Chen Changzhi, vice minister of the Ministry of Supervision, which supervises the performance of government officials.
One of the accidents was a mine blast in Hebei Province on December 7 2005 which killed 108 people. The other accidents, all of which claimed more than 30 lives, occurred in Shaanxi, Shanxi and Yunnan and Chongqing Municipality.
The State Administration of Work Safety and the Ministry of Supervision said in a joint release the extremely serious accidents should be taken "lessons that have come at the cost of blood and lives," said it.
Investigations show the accidents have inflicted a direct economic loss of 95.14 million yuan (US$12.37 million).
Mr. Chen Changzhi, Vice Minister of Supervision, at the joint release
(Xinhua News Agency May 10, 2007)