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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 June 2007, 10:50 GMT 11:50 UK
China mine boss jailed over death
Rescuers at a mining accident in China [file photo]
China's mines are among the most dangerous in the world
Seven men have been jailed over the beating to death of a journalist outside an illegal coal mine in China, state media reports.

The head of the mine, Hou Zhenrun, was jailed for life for ordering the attack that killed reporter Lan Chengzhang outside the mine in Shanxi province.

Some officials at the time said Mr Lan was not an accredited journalist and may have been trying to extort money.

The case triggered an outcry and a rare intervention by President Hu Jintao.

He ordered a swift investigation into the attack on the Beijing-based China Trade News journalist and his colleague.

Five men were given sentences of between five to 15 years in jail for carrying out the attack, while another man received a year sentence for harbouring the suspects.

The court in Shanxi sentenced Hou to life in prison for causing the death of another by malicious injury.

Mr Lan's family were also awarded 300,000 yuan ($40,000) in compensation from the defendants.


Mr Lan died in hospital the day after being set upon outside the mine in Shanxi's Huiyuan county in January.

His colleague was injured in the incident.


Local officials reportedly described Mr Lan at the time as a "false journalist", and suggested he had been seeking payments in return for not reporting problems at the mine.

The China Trade News said he had only just started with them and had not yet completed his trial period.

But the case still provoked a huge uproar among journalists and media groups both in China and abroad, leading to calls for greater protection for reporters in the country.

China's coal mines are among the most dangerous in the world, with more than 5,000 deaths reported annually.

Mine owners are frequently accused of ignoring government regulations in search of greater profits.

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