While it remained unclear yesterday exactly how many villagers were killed or injured in the explosion, one political casualty was hardly in doubt. The accident looked certain to cast a shadow over the political career of Shaanxi Governor Cheng Andong, 65, who was disciplined in May for a coal mine accident the month before in which 40 miners died. The leadership in Beijing has started to hold local officials responsible for accidents and disasters that occur in their areas. The punishments meted out range from self-criticism to removal from office. According to media reports, Mr Cheng broke down in tears when he gave his 'self-criticism' in front of Shaanxi cadres in May. The semi-official Hong Kong China News Agency yesterday quoted a Shenzhen regulation under which officials can be sacked for accidents involving more than 30 deaths that occur in their jurisdiction.