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200 Feared Dead in China Mine Disaster - 2001-07-30

Chinese state media report more than 200 miners are feared dead and 70 bodies have been found in a flooded tin mine in southern China.

The state-run Shanghai Youth Daily is reporting a tin mine in China's southern province, Guangxi, flooded July 16, trapping more than 200 miners. The newspaper says local officials paid relatives of the victims $2,400 each, to discourage them from telling reporters about the accident.

China's official Xinhua News Agency has carried no news of the disaster.

The Shanghai Youth Daily says that police have blocked access to the mine in Nandan County. It says the tin mine was flooded when workers accidentally broke open an adjoining old mine, which was filled with water. Most of the miners were reported to be from neighboring Guizhou Province.

Rescuers are said to be having trouble retrieving bodies from the mine because it is full of water. Reports say machines are still pumping water out to clear the passage.

The accident in Guangxi took place only days before a coal mine in the eastern province, Jiangsu, exploded, killing 92 miners.

China's mines are among the most dangerous in the world, with notoriously shoddy safety standards. The state council ordered all state-owned small mines to shut down in June for safety checks.