Accessibility links

Breaking News

Chinese Party Official Gets Death Sentence for Mine Accident Cover-Up - 2002-06-06

China has sentenced a Communist Party official to death for trying to cover up a mine accident that killed 81 people. China's mines are among the most dangerous in the world.

Wan Ruizhong, the former party secretary of Nandan county in China's southwestern province, Guangxi, has been sentenced to death on charges of taking bribes and abusing power.

China's official Xinhua news agency said Thursday Mr. Wan accepted almost $400,000 in cash and valuables from officials at a flooded tin mine. In exchange, Mr. Wan reportedly delayed rescue efforts and blocked an investigation into the mine accident last July.

Xinhua said three other party officials were sentenced to jail terms of 10 to 20 years for their role in the cover-up.

Chinese journalists exposed the accident. They said mine officials had hired armed gangs and tried to bribe the victims' families to keep them from talking to reporters.

Beijing sent investigators to Nandan following media reports of the accident. They found that miners ripped a hole in a wall separating them from a water-filled pit. The mine flooded, killing 81 people.

The accident in Nandan county was one of the worst in China's notoriously deadly mining industry. Last year, mine accidents killed more than 5,000 people.