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12 officials imprisoned for role in mine tragedy

TWELVE officials were sentenced from one year to five years in jail for their role in a mine accident that killed 277 people last year in north China's Shanxi Province, a court said on Saturday.

Among the officials, Li Binglin was a supervision official with Linfen Municipal Administration of Land and Resources. Zhang Xiaomin, Di Jianmin, Li Junyao, Yang Ruifeng, Zhang Guoqing, Yang Jianghua and Luo Yuelong were officials with the Land and Resources Administration of Xiangfen County, according to the People's Court of Xiangfen County.

Wang Gang, an environmental protection official of Xiangfen County, as well as three township officials, were also jailed.

The officials were negligent in their duties or abused their power, the court said.

The collapse of an unlicensed iron ore dreg-retaining pond triggered a massive landslide on September 8 in Xiangfen County. The torrent of mud and mining waste buried an outdoor market near a village of more than 1,000 residents. At least 277 people were killed. Four remain missing.

Also on Saturday, Xia Zhengui, 53, former secretary of the Linfen City Committee of the Communist Party of China, was removed from his post as deputy to the National People's Congress, the top legislature.


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