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Fatal landslide, nightclub fire smack of gov't corruption
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Chinese investigators have found clues on corruption behind last month's deadly landslide and nightclub fire, Huang Yi, the State Administration of Work Safety spokesman, said on Tuesday.

"An initial probe found clues on corruption behind the two fatal accidents and investigations are still underway," Huang told a press conference in Beijing.

An unlicensed iron ore dregs retaining pond in the northern province of Shanxi burst on Sept. 8 and washed over a downstream village, an office building and a busy outdoor market leaving 271 dead.

A nightclub fire in the southern Hong Kong border city of Shenzhen killed 44 on Sept. 21.

The agency also released its results of preliminary investigations over another seven deadly accidents this year.

The probe blamed illegal production, chaotic management and corruption for the accidents, Huang said.

"We couldn't rule out the possibility of a cover-up in another fatal landslide in Shanxi on Aug. 1."

The landslide toppled a waste dump of a local iron mine that buried a village in the suburbs of the provincial capital Taiyuan and killed more than 40.

The death toll reported by the local government remained unchanged at 11, even seven weeks later, the official noted. Investigators sent by the State Council, or China's Cabinet, recovered 41 bodies in only one week.

"We suspected there was a cover-up and we were seeking the evidence," Huang told reporters.

The agency is unveiling its blacklist of enterprises where accidents that killed more than 10 people occurred, Huang said. The industry and commerce bureaus, banks and insurance firms should give them punishment, he added, without elaborating.

He said 74 companies where such accidents occurred recently would be on the blacklist.

(Xinhua News Agency October 8, 2008)

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