Mine Blast in China’s Xinjiang Adds 21 to Accident Death Toll

Twenty-one people were killed after a coal mine explosion in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region on Dec. 13, a week after Premier Li Keqiang ordered intensified efforts to improve work safety.

The deaths, reported by the official Xinhua News Agency, follow a fire at a fruit market in the southern city of Shenzhen which killed 16 people. Fires in southern Guangxi province and a Beijing warehouse caused 24 deaths last month, according to the State Administration of Work Safety.

The country must put emphasis on preventing accidents, regularly conducting safety inspections and set up a permanent mechanism to ensure work safety, Li said at a Dec. 6 meeting of the State Council, China’s cabinet, according to a Xinhua report. His orders followed an explosion at an underground oil pipeline in eastern China on Nov. 22 that killed 62 people and left 136 injured.

The People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, published a commentary stressing the importance of safety for economic development, after the blast at the pipeline in Qingdao owned by China Petroleum & Chemical Corp.

A bridge pier collapse in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing in October which left 11 people dead was caused by “inadequate cofferdams, illegal construction and poor supervision,” Xinhua said in a Dec. 5 report.

The work safety agency said in October it investigated 21,056 complaints in the first nine months of the year.

— With assistance by Fan Wenxin

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