The Huludao city government issued a circular following the latest tragedy asking 77 other coal mines in the area to suspend production for unspecified "rectifying measures".

 

Coal mines in China have perhaps the worst safety records in the world.

 

According to government figures, nearly 3,800 lives were lost in Chinese coal mines last year, down 20 per cent from the year before.

 

However, many independent labour groups suspect the actual death toll is much higher, claiming many accidents are covered up to prevent costly shutdowns and legal action.