China hands out prison terms to 61 mining officials

61 officials were found guilty of corruption and negligence of duty leading to the death of 169 miners.

Beijing: Sixty one officials found
guilty of corruption and negligence of duty leading to the
death of 169 miners in a central Chines province, were handed
out prison terms, authorities said today.

Chinese authorities have stepped up efforts to break
the nexus between officials and mine owners, as it convicted
the officials for accepting bribes, abandoning duty, and
abusing power, the official added.

The three most deadly colliery accidents in the past
two years in China`s central Henan Province claimed 169 lives.

The statement, released by the provincial discipline
inspection commission, came as the province announced that it
would launch a six-month campaign in May to target corruption
in its bustling mining industry.

Another seven officials received administrative or
disciplinary reprimands for making illegal investments in the
coal mine, it said.

A blast killed 76 miners in the No. 4 mine near the
city of Pingdingshan on September 8, 2009.

The investigation revealed that eight officials
received 1.36 million yuan (USD2.8 lakhs) in bribes from the
mine`s owner Li Xinjun, who was given a suspended death
penalty in 2010.

Bribery also played a role in a mine blast that
claimed 44 lives in Yichuan County on March 31, 2010.

Another explosion in Pingdingshan killed 49 miners on
June 21, 2010, after some officials ignored the order to cut
the power supply to an illegal coal mine, Xinhua news agency