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Nobody Wants To Be In Charge Of Coal Mining In China

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BEIJING — Position open: Mayor of Chinese coal mining city notorious for frequent fatal accidents and heavy pollution. Prospective candidates: None.

State media reports on Wednesday said the jobs of mayor and Communist Party boss in the northern city of Linfen have gone unfilled for more than six months because no one wants the potentially career-killing positions.

The former incumbents were fired after a mining accident last September that killed 270 people.

Replacements have yet to be found from within the local government and attempts to recruit candidates from outside the area have so far failed, the China Daily and other newspapers reported.

"The ideal candidates must be willing to risk their political career," it said. Job tenure will likely last only until the next accident, China Daily said.

Asked about the reports, an official at Linfen's government propaganda office said new leaders were expected "soon."

"It's not as serious as media reported," said the man, who refused to give his name as is common among Chinese bureaucrats.

Despite the axing of numerous officials, changes in political leadership at the local level have done little to curb the carnage in China's mining industry, the world's deadliest. Most accidents are blamed on corruption, poor regulation, and cutting corners on safety to feed the growing economy's insatiable demand for coal.

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