MAC: Mines and Communities

Six million Chinese workers are victims of pneumoconiosis

Published by MAC on 2013-04-28
Source: Statement (2013-04-25)

18 miners die in Jilin coal explosion

An estimated six million workers in China have already contracted the deadly lung disease, pneumoconiosis, according to Hong-Kong based China Labour Bulletin (LB).

Chinese police break up pneumoconiosis protest
Chinese police break up pneumoconiosis protest. Source: CLB

"Whole communities in remote parts of China have been devastated by this entirely preventable disease but, as yet, the central government in Beijing has done little to help".

CLB is now calling on the government "to accept its responsibility for the epidemic and act to ensure that all victims are properly compensated". 

China Labour Bulletin' report Time to Pay the Bill - http://www.clb.org.hk/en/sites/default/files/File/research_reports/Time%20to%20Pay%20the%20Bill.pdf

Just over a week ago, 18 mineworkers were killed in an explosion at a coal mine in Jilin provice.

This was despite a government order to close all such mines in the province, following the deaths of 53 coal miners at other mines.

Time to Pay the Bill: China's obligation to the victims of pneumoconiosis

China Labour Bulletin release

25 April 2013

Two decades of unchecked economic growth has produced an occupational disease crisis in China that requires urgent action from the government.

An estimated six million workers in China, predominately poor migrants from the countryside, have already contracted the debilitating and deadly lung disease, pneumoconiosis.

It has ruined their lives and left their families impoverished and mired in debt. Whole communities in remote parts of China have been devastated by this entirely preventable disease but, as yet, the central government in Beijing has done little to help.

China Labour Bulletin calls on the Chinese government to accept its responsibility for the epidemic and act to ensure that all victims are properly compensated. In our third comprehensive report on pneumoconiosis in China, Time to Pay the Bill, we highlight the efforts of the workers who have been fighting for justice, the growing support they have received from the media and civil society, and the wholly inadequate response of local governments who are often ill-equipped to deal with the epidemic.

Even the best intentioned local government officials have done little more than rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic.

CLB recommends that the Chinese government:

Time to Pay the Bill: China's obligation to the victims of pneumoconiosis will be formally published on Sunday 28 April, the International Labour Organization World Day for Safety and Health at Work. This is the day workers around the world commemorate the victims of work accidents and occupational disease and urge all governments to take action.

For more details on this report and the work of China Labour Bulletin please contact CLB's Communications Director Geoffrey Crothall:

Office telephone: 852 2780 2187
Mobile: 852 6402 1530


Coal mine blast kills 18 in Jilin

China Daily

22 April 2013

An explosion in a coal mine killed 18 people and injured 12 others in Jilin province on Saturday when the mine operators defied a government order of suspending the work for inspections.

The blast occurred at 1:26 pm on Saturday in the Qingxing coal mine in Helong.

Seventy-three people were working underground, and 55 of them were lifted to safety.

All of the injured were receiving treatment in hospitals and were in stable condition, the Jilin provincial information office said in a statement on Sunday.

The mine's senior managers have been detained by police, and the Qingxing coal mine's operating permit has been canceled, according to the statement.

The accident came after all Jilin coal mines were ordered to suspend operations following two coal mine accidents that claimed 53 lives.

Investigators believe Saturday's accident was caused by negligence, the statement said.

The Qingxing coal mine did not conduct safety checks and continued working illegally after the suspension order, and the local government failed to properly supervise it, according to the statement.

The province will send supervision teams to all 210 coal mines in the province to ensure they have halted production for safety inspections, the statement said.

On March 29 and again on April 1 explosions occurred at the Babao coal mine, which employs more than 3,500 people and belongs to the State-owned Tonghua Mining Group.

Seven officials responsible for the explosions were placed under investigation or detained, government authorities said.

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