Scribe Gets 16 Years in Mine Accident Coverup
Li Junqi, former director of the Hebei bureau of Farmers’ Daily, is believed to be the first of the 10 reporters involved in the scandal to receive criminal punishment.
Thirty-four miners and a rescuer died after a blast ripped through the Lijiawa mine in Yuxian county on July 14, 2008, three weeks before the start of the Beijing Olympics.
According to local media reports, mine bosses relocated bodies, destroyed evidence and paid the journalists 2.6 million yuan ($380,000) to cover up the disaster, keeping the tragedy from appearing in newspapers for 85 days.
Following a State Council probe into the accident, the 10 journalists confessed to taking bribes, resulting in the prosecution of 48 local officials.
The identities of the 10 journalists have not been made public, but reports claim Guan Jian, a Beijing journalist from China Internet Weekly, and Li were among them.