The bodies were retrieved after the blast at a mine in the city of Fengcheng in Jiangxi on Friday, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Two workers were injured, and operations at the mines have been suspended.
The cause of the accident at the state-owned Jianxin Coal Mine, which has a capacity of 600,000 tonnes a year, is being investigated, Xinhua said.
Senior officials were on their way to the site, it added.
Among them are a member of China's cabinet, the State Council, along with the provincial governor and the provincial head of the Communist Party.
A local mining bureau official in Fengcheng confirmed the explosion, but could not provide further details.
A new work safety law and greater efforts to patrol unsafe work sites have failed to stem the number of deaths in Chinese mine accidents.
Coal mine accidents in China killed 4,620 miners in the first nine months of 2003.