Hu steps into journalist’s murder case

Making an extremely rare intervention, President Hu Jintao called for a swift investigation into the killing of a journalist at an illegal coal mine in Shanxi province. Hu's action followed an outcry over the beating death of Lan Chengzhang outside the mine.

The China News Service reported that Hu and other senior officials are demanding a prompt inquiry into the journalist’s death, with the findings reported as quickly as possible. Lan, who had recently begun working for the Beijing-based China Trade News, was set upon and killed earlier this month outside the unlicensed mine in Huiyuan county.

The mine owner, who is suspected of ordering the attack, is among seven people arrested. Three others are being sought, state media reported.

China’s coal mines are among the most dangerous in the world, and their owners are often accused of putting profits before safety.

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photo by Lhoon