China UpdatePublished by MAC on 2006-05-13
13th May 2006
China has emerged as the world's largest single consumer of coal. The country's contribution to global greenhouse emissions is second only to the US, while the attrition from unsafe coal mines doesn't diminish - with more than fifty miners killed at three mines in the space of just a week. Among the victims at another site were four women, even though Chinese law forbids them from working in coal mines.
Meanwhile the number of officially recorded "labour disputes" over wages, insurance and welfare payments has increased by 20% to a record 300,000 in 2005.
But some are profiting - mostly foreign companies. They're bringing so-called "clean coal technology" to China (and they include Peabody Coal, now accused of unacceptable water wastage on Dene/Hopi land in the US). They are selling purported "environmental technology" in exchange for the purchase of "pollution rights". And they are intent on setting up "alternative energy" plants.