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Chinese Prime Minister Says Coal Mines Remain Perilous

Rescue workers at the Dongfeng Coal Mine, 28 November 2005 (epa) 6 December 2005 -- Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has criticized the country's coal industry as "chaotic" and perilous, despite what he said was his government's attempts to improve safety.

Wen's statement follows an explosion on 27 November in the state-owned Dongfeng Coal Mine in the province of Heilongjiang that killed 171 miners.

In comments posted on the website of the State Administration for Work Safety, Wen said new safety rules issued by the authorities continue to be flouted.

The Xinhua state news agency says families of the miners killed in the accident will each receive 200,000 yuan ($24,700) in compensation.