More than 80 local officials allegedly responsible for several major mining explosions in North China's coal-rich Shanxi Province are subject to punishment, according to the local provincial government.
Eighteen officials will face criminal charges while 64 will be subject to administrative discipline.
The move is directed against those allegedly involved in the four major coal mining explosions which occurred between October and March this year.
The blasts reportedly claimed a total of 178 lives and injured another 13 people.
A release from the provincial government yesterday said the action being taken against those accused of negligence aims to intensify workplace safety in coal mines and strengthen managers' awareness of their responsibilities.
Jin Shanzhong, vice-governor of Shanxi Province, highlighted the importance of work safety during a tele-conference on coal mine production yesterday, saying no efforts should be spared to guarantee the well-being of workers.
He urged managers of coal mines as well as officials responsible for coal output to take full accountability for safe production and ensure precautions are in place to try and stop the reoccurrence of such disasters.
Since October, there have been seven major coal mining accidents in Shanxi Province.
Three of the disasters struck over a period of 10 days last month, killing almost 100 workers in total. All of the disasters were caused by pit explosions.
(China Daily September 1, 2003)