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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

China Mine Blast Leaves 203 Dead

FUXIN, China -- A gas explosion at a coal mine in China's northeast killed at least 203 miners, the government said Tuesday, in the deadliest mining disaster reported since Communist rule began in 1949.

The explosion Monday afternoon at the Sunjiawan mine in Liaoning province also injured 28 others and trapped 12 people underground, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Rescuers in the far northeastern province were hampered by dangerously icy roads and freezing temperatures. The cause of the blast was under investigation, Xinhua said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and other Chinese leaders issued orders for local officials "to spare no effort to rescue those stranded in the mine," and called for "strict measures" to prevent any more such disasters, Xinhua said.

China has suffered a string of deadly mining disasters in recent months despite a nationwide safety campaign. A blast in the northern province of Shaanxi in November killed 166 miners. Another explosion in October killed 148. Before that, the deadliest reported mining accident in recent years was a fire in southern China that killed 162 miners in 2000.