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Accidents Kill 60,000 People in 7 Months
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The number of people killed by accidents in China dropped 11 percent year on year in the first seven months, but it has been climbing again since May, China's state work safety watchdog said on Tuesday.

About 61,100 persons have died in colliery, fire, road and other accidents since the beginning of the year, said Wang Xianzheng, deputy director of the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS).

In the first seven months, death tolls in coal mines went down 23.5 percent year on year, said Wang.

But the official warned that the situation in Chinese collieries is still grave. Coal mine deaths rose 11 percent, 12.4 percent and 15.7 percent year-on-year in May, June and July respectively.

Illegal activity and over-production are major reasons for the growing number of deaths in the May-July period, said Wang.

There are still a large number of small collieries operating without licenses, according to the agency.

With China's economic growth hitting a record 10.9 percent in the first six months, overtime and over-production have become commonplace.

Wang said China will step up efforts to address these problems and reverse the upward trend in deaths since May.

(Xinhua News Agency August 16, 2006)

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