The weekend incident was the latest in a series of coal mine disaster in the country lately.
The explosion hit the Qingxing coal mine in Jilin province's Helong town, China Daily reported. There were 73 workers underground at the time of the incident and 55 of them, including 12 who were injured, had been lifted to safety, the report said.
The injured were taken to hospitals where all were reported in stable condition.
The report said the mine operators were accused of defying a government order to suspend work until an inspection had been completed.
A provincial government spokesman said police had detained the mine's senior managers and the mine's permit was canceled, the report said. The provincial government said the coal mine did not conduct safety checks and had continued to operate illegally.
The order for suspension of operations at the mine was given following two coal mine disasters in Jilin province that claimed a total of 53 lives, the report said.
China Daily said teams will be sent to all 210 coal mines in the province to ensure they have halted production ahead of safety inspections.
In two previous mine disasters this month, seven miners died in an explosion in their mine in central China's Hunan province. A similar number died in another mine blast in southwest China's Guizhou province.