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Premier Calls for Steady Coal Supply, Safer Coalmining

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Wednesday urged China's leading coal producer, the northern province of Shanxi, to further tap its producing capacity and ensure steady coal supply for the country while "resolutely preventing" the occurrence of any major accidents such as gas explosions.
"Shanxi has an important role to play in the country's coal reserves and output," said Wen Wednesday afternoon while joining in a panel discussion of Shanxi lawmakers attending the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), the top Chinese legislature, in Beijing.
Shanxi should strengthen the exploration of coal resources, speed up the construction of large-sized coalmining bases and further tap the producing capacity of existing coal mines, to ensure a safe and steady coal supply that can meet the need of the country's economic development, Wen told the lawmakers.
Meanwhile, Wen stressed that "nothing is more precious than human lives" and that "top priority must be given to production safety at the coal mines".
He called for greater investment to upgrade safety facilities and infrastructure at the coal mines and a more strict implementation of the "safety responsibility system", adding that at present the main attention should be focused on the problem of coal bed gas, the top killer in China's coalmine accidents.
"We must take more effective measures and resolutely prevent the occurrence of any major gas-related accidents," said Wen.
Also on Wednesday, other senior Party and state leaders including Chairman of the NPC Standing Committee Wu Bangguo, Vice President Zeng Qinghong, Vice Premier Huang Ju and Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China Wu Guanzheng also joined lawmakers from all over the country in panel discussions.
At a panel discussion of the Qinghai provincial delegation to the current NPC session, Wu Bangguo stressed the importance of adhering to and further improving the people's congress system, which he called "the most important channel" for the Chinese people to exercise their power as the true masters of the country.
Zeng Qinghong exchanged views with the lawmakers from southwest China's Yunnan Province on the "scientific concept of development" and the fresh concept of "a harmonious socialist society" endorsed by the top Chinese leadership.
"Yunnan has an important role to play in promoting the 'Great Development of the Western Regions' and in safeguarding peace and stability in the border regions," Zeng noted.
Joining in the discussion of the NPC delegation from south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Huang Ju called on all the lawmakers to bring their legislative and supervisory roles into full play and contribute to the building of a socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics.
At the discussion of the Hunan provincial delegation to the NPC session, Wu Guanzheng urged all leading officials to strictly abide by all disciplinary rules and regulations of the Party and the government and always be clean and honest. He also exchanged views with the lawmakers on issues of how to improve the quality of the law-enforcement personnel and how to safeguard and promote social justice.

(Xinhua News Agency March 10, 2005)

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