MAC: Mines and Communities

Mentally disabled murdered in China's coal mines

Published by MAC on 2010-01-11
Source: The Daily Telegraph (UK), AFP

Yet another mine explosion takes miners' lives

Mentally disabled Chinese peasants are being kidnapped and made to work in illegal mines, before being murdered in fake accidents for compensation money.

Last month, twelve workers went to their death in an explosion at the state-owned Donggou coal mine in Shanxi province, managed by the Xinwen mining group.

And another eleven miners were trapped after a blast at the Malishu coal mine in Yunnan province.

Mentally disabled murdered in China's coal mines

By David Eimer in Beijing

The Daily Telegraph (UK)

31 December 2009

Leibo County police believe at least 17 people have been murdered in mines in nine different provinces since 2007.

Nine people were arrested on Thursday for their part in the scheme, which has so far resulted in the murder of at least 17 people across the country, according to police in south-western Sichuan province.

Dozens more victims have been rescued by the authorities.

The deadly scam is reminiscent of the plot of the acclaimed 2003 Chinese film Blind Shaft, in which two miners travel northern China persuading naive migrant workers to work alongside them. They then kill them, making their deaths look like accidents, and extort money from the mine owners by threatening to reveal that their pits are unlicensed and operating illegally.

In one case in November, a miner from Leibo County in Sichuan died in an apparent accident two days after starting work in a mine in central Hubei province. Five days later three people claiming to be his relatives arrived and demanded 200,000 Yuan (£18,200) in compensation for his death.

Only later did it emerge that the dead miner was working under a false name.

Subsequent investigations revealed that villagers from Leibo County were being kidnapped and put to work in mines across China, before being killed so that their so-called relatives could claim compensation.

Leibo County police believe at least 17 people have been murdered in mines in nine different provinces since 2007. "All the cases involved unidentified victims who suffered from a mental disability," a police officer told local media.

12 dead in China mine blasts: state media


28 December 2009

Twelve coal miners have been killed and 11 others trapped in two gas explosions in China, state media said Monday, in the latest accidents to strike the country's notoriously dangerous mining sector.

The 12 workers were killed in a blast late Sunday at the Donggou coal mine in the city of Jiexiu in northern Shanxi province, Xinhua news agency quoted local authorities as saying.

The accident happened after the workers "violated a safety rule" by demolishing a wall between the shaft and a disused area of the mine where gas had accumulated, a spokesman for the local work safety administration said.

Four people were hospitalised for injuries suffered in the blast, but their condition was unknown, the report said.

In the second incident in southwest Yunnan province's Shuangbai county, rescuers were working to locate 11 trapped workers after a blast at the Malishu coal mine on Monday, Xinhua said.

China's coal mines are among the most dangerous in the world, with safety often ignored in the quest for profits and a drive to meet surging demand for coal, the source of about 70 percent of the country's energy.

Thousands of miners are reportedly killed in accidents every year. Last month, 108 miners were killed in a gas explosion at a coal mine in Heilongjiang province in northeastern China.

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