A court in China has sentenced to life in prison Wang Jianjun, a mine owner who covered up an accident which resulted in 21 deaths. This is the most severe sentence ever handed down to a mine owner for such an accident. From the Guardian:
Last year, the government ordered the closure of his small, private, mine in Miaojiang in the coal-rich province of Shanxi, but Wang illegally restarted work in February with no safety permit or operating licence. On March 18 a gas explosion there trapped 21 miners underground.
Instead of calling the rescue services, Wang tried to cover up the accident. He cut the cables of the pit shaft, and told inspectors the mine was closed. He ordered other mine workers to stay home and sent victims’ families to a neighbouring province, promising them hush money if they kept quiet. His actions delayed rescue work by 44 hours, the Xinhua news agency reported, and condemned the men to death. As is often the case in China, the mine owner had the support of local officials. [Full text]