Coal Boss Held Over Charges of 14 Years of Illegal Mining
Authorities in northwestern China have detained the head of a mining company after a media report alleged that he oversaw a vast illegal coal-mining operation spanning more than a decade.
Officials in Qinghai province said at a Sunday press conference that police had seized Ma Shaowei, the chairman of Qinghai Xingqing Industry & Trade Engineering Group Corp., adding that Communist Party discipline inspectors had also dismissed five government officials in connection with the scandal.
The move followed the publication of an investigation in the state-affiliated Economic Information Daily last week that accused Xingqing of making more than 10 billion yuan ($1.44 billion) by extracting more than 26 million tons of coal without a permit during a period lasting 14 years.
The alleged offenses took place in the Qaidam Basin, a coal-rich, mountainous region of Qinghai that in recent years has emerged as an important environmental protection area.
Qinghai’s discipline commission secretary, Teng Jiacai, said at the press conference the provincial government had decided to sanction the five officials after an investigation by a specialist task force last week.
The officials include Liang Yanguo, a standing committee member of Haixi prefectural government, and Li Yongping, a member of Haixi government’s Party leadership group. Both men concurrently held roles in a circular economy pilot zone for Qaidam region.
Li Jiexiang, the senior vice governor of Qinghai, said Sunday that both public security and discipline inspection officials would investigate the case.
They would “thoroughly investigate illegal behavior and strictly handle it in accordance with the law, no matter who is involved or what rank they hold,” Li said.
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