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Officials Disciplined for Owning Coal Mine Shares
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The Ministry of Supervision announced on Friday that 315 government officials and heads of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have been disciplined this year for owing shares in coal mines.

"Forty five people out of them are now under judicial investigations," Chen Changzhi, vice minister of supervision, said at a press conference. "The ministry has received 1,022 reports of such offences -- 928 have been investigated."

The government issued an ultimatum in August 2005 ordering government officials and heads of SOEs to report their investment in coal mines and to sell their shares by September 22, 2005.

A total of 5,357 officials and SOE leaders have declared shares in coal mines totaling 755 million yuan (US$95.6 million) since the end of last year, Chen said.

He said about 709 million yuan (US$89.7 million) has been withdrawn from coal mines across China since last December, accounting for 93.9 percent of such investment.

The move was part of the government's efforts to lower the number of accidents in the coal mining industry, where small and unsafe coal mines, some of them illegal, often fail to observe safety rules because they are protected by local officials who have financial interests in the mines.

(Xinhua News Agency September 22, 2006)

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