Over 100,000 died in China work accidents in 2007

(Updates throughout, adds quotes)

BEIJING, Jan 11 (Reuters) - More than 100,000 Chinese died in workplace accidents last year, including on the roads and railways, but the figure was down one-tenth on 2006, a senior official said on Friday.

Li Yizhong, head of the State Administration of Work Safety, said 101,480 people died but that government education and publicity campaigns were paying off.

"The national production safety situation continues to steadily improve," he told a national meeting, carried live on central government Web site


Accidents in coal mines and on the roads showed the largest improvement, Li added.

China's coal mines are the world's deadliest, with fatal accidents taking place almost on a daily basis as mine owners push productions beyond safety limits to pursue profits.

Li said many problems remained.

"One is that the implementation and propagation of the concept of safe development and of safe production policies is not deep enough," he said. "The work of some localities and work units is still superficial."

Supervision and safety inspections were carried out unevenly, Li added.

"The results have not been consolidated, and there can easily be localised rebounds," he said. "It will be hard to maintain the downward trend in 2008."

Last year's death toll was still unacceptably high, added Zhou Yongkang, the former head of public security who was raised to the Politburo Standing Committee in October, the Communist Party's most senior group of leaders.

"It ought to be said that 100,000 people dying in accidents every year is a serious social problem," he said.

Natural disasters including floods, landslides and lightning strikes also took their toll last year, killing 2,325 people, the Ministry of Civil Affairs added.

More than 1.46 million houses were destroyed and 48.67 million hectares of arable land affected, the ministry added in a statement on its Web site (

). (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie and Alex Richardson)