Coal Mine Explosion Kills Seven in China

January 9, 2013 Updated: January 9, 2013

Seven people were killed in a coal mine explosion in northern China on Monday, an incident which drew condemnation from Internet users who believe local governments cover up scandals that cause deaths.

The blast at the Shijiazhuang coal mine, owned by the Shanxi Yangquan Coal Group in Shanxi Province, was caused by a gas leak, reported state-run broadcaster China National Radio. Nearly 900 miners were working underground when the explosion took place, with everyone escaping to safety except the seven who died. 

After the news emerged, the Yangquan Coal Group fired five senior officials including the chairman, the Communist Party secretary, and the chief engineers. An investigation was launched into the cause of the explosion, according to the China News Service. 

The blast is yet another black mark for Li Xiaopeng, acting governor of Shanxi Province and son of former Chinese Premier Li Peng.

Recently, a subsidiary of the state-run China Railway Tunnel Group covered up a deadly explosion at the Nanlü Liangshan tunnel that left around 60 people dead, but reports from the Party mouthpiece Xinhua News Agency said only eight died.

Last week, Li criticized officials and others involved in the accident and cover up, but he did not apologize, according to New Tang Dynasty Television.

Also, it was reported Tuesday that Shanxi officials did not disclose news about a toxic chemical leak that lasted five days in Changzhi City. Around 8.7 tons of aniline, a precursor to many industrial chemicals, leaked into the Zhouzhang River, which more than a million people use for water. Another 30 tons of aniline leaked into a nearby reservoir. 

Chinese netizens slammed the local Shanxi government for not dealing with the province’s urgent problems, and for attempting to cover them up. 

Blogger “Tomwxj” expressed outrage over the explosion at the Nanlü Liangshan tunnel that “caused many deaths,” and the cover up of the chemical leak in Changzhi, adding that “there are not many reports on the Shijiazhuang mine accident.”

Lin Lüshan, an associate research fellow with the Guangdong University of Technology, said that Governor Li Xiaopeng should take responsibility for his recent conduct in concealing and delaying the response to disasters and environmental problems.

“It’s time for the governor to consider his resignation,” Lin said.

New Oriental School and ZhenFund investment company founder Xu Xiaoping, commenting online, said that the government needs to own up to its underhanded behavior before another “severe tragedy befalls us.” He added that covering these stories up cannot go on like this.

Read the original Chinese article.

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