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Tuesday, 7 August, 2001, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Arrests follow China mine disaster

Fifteen people have been arrested in southern China , suspected of trying to cover up a mining disaster in which hundreds of people are thought to have died.

Managers and local officials are alleged to have threatened reporters and bribed the relatives of those who died to keep them quiet after a tin mine in the southern province of Guangxi flooded last month.

At least 70 people are known to have died, but the number of those killed is likely to rise to more than 300.

The mine's owners and local officials at first denied there had been an accident, but a government inquiry was launched after newspapers exposed details of the disaster.

One newspaper has accused the mine's owners of trying to cover up an earlier disaster in the area.

More than 5,000 people died in mining accidents in China last year.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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