At least 206 more workers were killed in Chinese mines by Dec. 11 this year than in the same period last year, state media reported Tuesday, despite repeated promises by the government to crackdown on rampant safety violations in the industry. The China Daily newspaper reported that 5,491 coal miners were killed in 2,939 accidents by Dec. 11, 206 more than in the same period in 2004, the report said. The country's deadliest reported mine accident in six decades occurred in February, when 214 coal miners died in an explosion in the northern city of Fuxin. But most of the deaths occur one, two or a dozen at a time in small, often illegally run mines.
Li Yizhong, the head of China's State Administration of Work Safety, on Monday vowed to carry out an "iron-handed" safety overhaul of the mining industry by curbing overproduction and shutting down 4,000 mines by Dec. 31, the China Daily said, reports the AP. I.L.