A Shanghai-based Xinhua journalist who exposed a mine disaster cover-up in Shanxi was summoned to Beijing and told yesterday to keep his mouth shut. Reporter Sun Chunlong had a scoop in the Xinhua-owned Oriental Outlook weekly magazine about the bursting of a mine-tailings dam on August 1 that submerged a hamlet in Loufan county, Shanxi , claiming more than 40 lives. Loufan authorities reported the event as a natural accident with a minor death toll. Sun's article suggested a much higher death toll and a possible cover-up. The report alarmed Premier Wen Jiabao last month, according to Guangzhou Daily, and on Monday, more than two months after the incident, a central government taskforce was established to carry out a thorough investigation. But Sun was summoned to Xinhua's headquarters in Beijing yesterday and told to lay off the case. He said he was asked not to comment about the incident. 'I was told that the State Administration of Work Safety had taken over. I must keep my mouth shut from now on,' he said. 'There is pressure, and the situation is delicate.' The mine was run by Tianyuan Iron and Steel (Tisco), the mainland's largest stainless-steel manufacturer. Hours after the incident, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang arrived at a Tisco plant for an inspection. Many important mainland military and civilian projects, including nuclear power plants, high-speed railway networks, the aircraft carrier programme and even the Shenzhou VII spacecraft, need Tisco's products. In the weeks that followed, government officials suppressed the news, according to Sun's report. As Sun entered the village in disguise, he was surrounded by heartbroken farmers using their hands and shovels to dig out the remains of their relatives because authorities ordered only one bulldozer to remove the debris, given that the initial reported official death toll was low. Sun compiled a list of the missing and dead of more than 40 villagers in his report, which quickly appeared on major Web portals. But the information was just as quickly removed. 'As a responsible journalist, I must let the world know the truth,' Sun said in an earlier interview with Guangzhou Daily. He published the article on his blog and openly requested acting Shanxi Governor Wang Jun order a thorough investigation.