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China to Investigate Alleged Cover Up of Olympic Stadium Deaths

China's head of work safety has said he will ask for an investigation of an alleged cover up of construction worker deaths at Beijing's main Olympic stadium. The official has also asked the media and public to help report work safety violations to prevent them from being swept under the table. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.

China's Minister responsible for work safety, Li Yizhong, said he did not know of any cover ups of worker deaths at Olympic venues, but said he would ask for an investigation nonetheless.

The British newspaper the Sunday Times reported at least 10 construction workers had been killed during the building of Beijing's main Olympic stadium, known as the bird's nest.

Beijing's Olympic Organizing Committee denied the report.

Li said it was the first time he had heard of the incident.

He says he will instruct the Beijing Work Safety Administration to investigate and if this situation occurred, they would of course handle it strictly according to law.

The Bird's Nest Stadium is the showpiece for the 2008 Olympic games, when Beijing hopes to impress the world with its level of development and modernity.

Li asked for the media and public to help reveal work safety incidents, including those at Olympic construction projects. He said tips from the public had helped catch officials who illegally invested in China's coal mines, the deadliest in the world.

Over 100,000 workers die in China each year from work accidents. Many of the deaths are from poor safety conditions that are often ignored or blatantly violated in the pursuit of profit.

Corrupt Chinese officials also collude with businessmen allowing them to avoid safety rules and regulations in exchange for bribes.