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Coal mine safety
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Notorious for the fatal coal mine blast that killed 105 miners early this month, the city of Linfen has announced an open recruitment of an official nationwide to head its coal industry bureau.

The obvious intention to look for a competent official to overhaul the problematic coal industry of the city in the country's coal producing province of Shanxi is understandable.

The mine where the workers were killed had all the certificates issued by the local administration authorities for production, but it was accused of having a wide range of irregularities and even violations in its production and workplace safety management. This explains how chaotic the management of the coal industry is in the city.

The city mayor has already been dismissed and 11 officials are being investigated for their possible involvement in illegally issuing production and work safety certificates to the mine.

Undoubtedly, there is more than enough reason to overhaul the entire coal management system to introduce a workable mechanism that will effectively tighten management of the local mines and put its entire working process under proper order to overcome its vulnerability to bribes.

A competent leader is necessary for the sector. It seems that the local government is placing a high expectation on that official whose decisions will have a decisive effect on the future of its coal industry, which has a total production capacity of 50 million tons a year.

If this be the case, the former head would have been very incompetent and should be sued for dereliction of duty.

Far from knowing enough of the truth about its complicated, problematic coal industry management, we still have enough reason to believe it will not be easy to appoint a competent person to tidy up the industry's irregularities and unhealthy tendencies.

We do not know whether the local government has taken other steps to clear up the whole system. If it has not, we can hardly believe the new leader will be able to rebuild the system. If it has, it will be good for the new leader, who must have no vested interests, to do a proper job of overhauling the industry.

(China Daily December 27, 2007)


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