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Shanxi Governor Resigns, Acting Governor Appointed

Meng Xuenong, governor of north China's Shanxi Province, resigned on Sunday in the wake of the deadly mud-rock flow that had killed 254 people by Saturday night.

His resignation was accepted by the 5th session of the Standing Committee of the 11th Shanxi Provincial People's Congress on Sunday afternoon.

Zhang Jianmin, vice governor of Shanxi was removed from his post at the same session.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council, China's Cabinet, approved both Meng's resignation and Zhang's removal on Sunday. The decision was made according to the regulations on the responsibility of leaders in major accidents.

The provincial people's congress appointed Wang Jun as the acting and deputy governor. Wang, 56, was appointed the head of the State Administration of Work Safety in March this year.

Meng Xuenong, born in August 1949, is a native of Penglai, east China's Shandong Province.

He was elected mayor of Beijing in January 2003 and was removed from the post for failing to respond properly to SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) crisis in April the same year. He was appointed deputy director of the Office of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project Construction Committee of the State Council in September 2003.

Meng was appointed deputy secretary of the CPC Shanxi Provincial Committee on August 30, 2007, and was elected vice governor and acting governor of the province on September 3 of the same year.

In January this year, Meng was elected governor of Shanxi at the provincial people's congress.

Further investigation was underway, according to the accident investigation team, which was dispatched by the State Council to probe the case on Thursday. It also vowed to punish those responsible for the accident.

Initial investigations showed that factors leading to the accident included production and building the pond holding waste ore dregs in violation of regulations, lack of security checkup, failure to implement the orders for straightening up operations, and loose supervision of concerned departments.

The State Council has also ordered nationwide safety check at similar production sites to root out hidden risks following the deadly accident in Shanxi. Any illegal activities and people who are held accountable will be dealt with harshly according to the law, it said.

A rain-triggered mud-rock flow in north China's Shanxi Province happened around 7:50 AM on Monday when the bank of a pond holding waste ore dregs burst at the Tashan Mine in Xiangfen County, Linfen City.

The mud, mixed with ore fragments, slid down the mountainside, washing away people and destroying buildings, trade markets and residences lying about 500 meters downstream.

(Xinhua News Agency September 15, 2008)

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