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Probe Continues on Officials' Stakes in Coalmines

A campaign to force government officials and leaders of state-owned enterprise to give up their shares in coal mines has achieved initial results, said a notice issued by four ministries and commissions Monday.

According to the notice, officials who reported their stakes in coal mines will all be investigated. It is imperative to determine the source of investment funds, confirm that officials and leaders have properly de-vested their shares and that profits have been given back. The move is aimed at preventing officials from cheating by secretly keeping their stakes. Those attempting to do so will be severely punished

The notice was jointly issued by the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Ministry of Supervision, Commission for Supervision and Management of State-owned Properties and State Administration of Production Safety.

The inspection campaign will be intensified in regions rich in coal mines but have had few officials reporting their stock holdings. Officials who do not properly report their investments will be held fully accountable under the law.

The four government departments will organize a joint inspection team that will be sent to areas where there have been a lot of complaints by local people.

The government issued the divestiture requirement on Aug. 30 as a move to improve the safety in coal mines where accidents have been reported frequently.

On Nov. 1, China announced that a total of 4,578 officials have admitted they had stakes in coal mines, with total capital of 653 million yuan (US$ 81.6 million).

(Xinhua News Agency December 20, 2005)

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