China mining accident cover-up exposed

A CHINESE daily newspaper has been suspended after it was discovered the publication concealed information regarding a mining accident in the city of Ruzhou. The August incident has also led to the resignation of an advisor and the suspension of one of the paper’s reporters as well as its editor.

Donna Schmidt

Henan Shang Bao of the Henan Business News was given a month-long suspension by the Chinese General Administration of Press & Publications and the Central Propaganda Department on September 17 for ‘inaccurate reporting’, and well-known journalist Ma Yunlong, who served as an advisor to the publication, was asked to resign, according to a report by China’s Lianhe Zaobao newspaper.

According to Shang Bao’s statement, local government offered hundreds of reporters a total of RMB200,000 ($US24,715), to withhold information on a flood that occurred in the mine in Ruzhou. Reporter Fan Youfeng wrote that once word spread of the hush money payouts, fake reporters began showing up at the scene, and Fan personally accepted a RMB1000 bribe and turned the money over to his office. Fan’s report was then picked up by print and online news outlets.

“The story is true,” Fan told Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post two weeks ago. “I have the interviews on tape.”

“But I have been questioned by the Government. It is very sensitive. I hope you understand I cannot say any more to you,” he told the paper.

It not known how many were killed in the July accident. Many mining accidents in China are never made public due to corruption or intimidation.

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