China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) has prosecuted 193 people, including 16 government officials, for contravening work safety regulations such as operating illegal coal mines.
"The SPC has heard 28 grave cases that affect the safety of the country's economic production. Of the condemned, 149 have been imprisoned immediately, with the rest on probation," a SPC spokesman announced on Monday.
Five were sentenced to prison sentences of seven years, the heaviest possible punishment for the crime, he said.
More than 5,000 Chinese civil servants participating in the operation of coal mines have received punishments in almost 100,000 illegal mining cases since 2005, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Land and Resources.
(Xinhua News Agency June 5, 2007)