MAC: Mines and Communities

CHINA: more disasters, more crackdowns

Published by MAC on 2005-11-29

CHINA: more disasters, more crackdowns

Yet another disaster struck a state-owned coal mine in China late last month killing at least 140 workers.

As revealed by Hong Kong-based China Labour Bulletin, the overall mineworkers' death toll has phenomenally increased since the regime's massive increase in industrialisation and consumerism over the past five years.

Between 2000 and 2005 officially more than 30,000 mineworkers died in over 18,000 serious accidents (The true figure is likely to be much higher).

Since the foundation of the Peoples Republic of China in 1949, nine disasters have each claimed the lives of a hundred or more miners. Seven of these ocurred after 2000; and no less than five of these in the past thirteen months alone.

Following the Dongfeng explosion, once again state officials have deplored the accident, promising new measures to enforce occupational health and safety and close down dangerous pits. But - as described by "banned" lawyer Gao Zhisheng in a moving account of his visit to families of those sacrificed in the Chenjiashan disaster of November 2004 - the reality is likely to be very different, with blame being displaced onto the victims.

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