Investigation launched as coal mining company in N.China's Shanxi conceals 40 accidents, resulting in 43 miner deaths; 16 public officials under investigation
Published: Jul 31, 2023 03:11 AM
Handcuffs photo: VCG

Handcuffs photo: VCG

A mining company in North China's Shanxi Province is under investigation by local authorities for concealing 40 production accidents and the resulting deaths of 43 miners. A total of 28 personnel suspected of crimes related to major accident liability and major labor safety accidents in the incident were taken into criminal custody , while  16 public officials suspected of serious violations of discipline and law were put on file for investigation and, local authorities said in a statement on Sunday. 

According to a report published by China Newsweek on June 29, more than 30 miners from Jingcheng Mining Company died in production safety accidents from between 2007 to the "9.1" collapse accident in 2022, but these fatalities were concealed by the owner of the company.

After the report was published, authorities in Shanxi Province formed a joint investigation team to conduct a comprehensive and lawful investigation and pursual of the concealing the deaths of miners.

The investigation team has conducted in-depth work on gathering evidence and verifying information. They have visited the families, relatives, and colleagues of the deceased miners in Shanxi, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, and Southwest China's Sichuan and Chongqing, completing a total of over 200 visits. Additionally, the team have examined hundreds of relevant documents and records.

Upon investigation, it was revealed that Jingcheng Mining Company conducted mining operations in different mines, typically employing 3 to 5 workers per mine. The company deliberately concealed and withheld information about the incidents after resulting injuries or fatalities. 

The company also separated the families of the deceased miners and individually negotiated with them in remote locations. Through coercion and cajoling , the company forced the families of the victims to accept compensation and sign "non-disclosure agreements", deliberately avoiding responsibility, punishment and accountability.

Jingcheng Mining Company has been found to have engaged in serious negligence, lacking in safety education and training, and operating without proper safety inspections and procedures. From January to August 2022, the company illegally mined a total of 2.607 million tons of ore.

In addition, Jin Fujun, the contractor of Jingcheng Mining, formed a mafia-type organization led by him during the development of his business, involving a total of 17 criminal charges involving eight charges of intentional injury, extortion,  provoking trouble, forced trading, intentional destruction of property, opening casinos, illegal storage of explosives and failure to report or omitting details about security accidents.

The investigation team also concluded that the local regulatory authorities did not conduct effective safety production supervision and inspections on Jingcheng Mining Company, failing to timely detect and thoroughly investigate the company's act of concealing accidents.

In 2018, when Jingcheng Mining concealed the most accidents, according to the annual law enforcement plan, safety inspections should be carried out at least once every quarter, but there were only two inspection records and one review record throughout the year, and the inspection failed to find and correct the company's problems in a timely manner.

At the same time, the responsibility for the concealment incident has been carried out simultaneously, and the responsible person has been taken criminal coercive measures in accordance with the law. The discipline inspection and supervision organs are digging deep to thoroughly investigate the corruption and "protection umbrella" such as power-money trading, benefit transfer, dereliction of duty and other corruption problems behind the concealment.

Global Times