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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

China's Workplace accidents down, but more deaths

Mining Disaster China "Coal-related deaths dropped 25 per cent during January-April period with 1,267 deaths reported in 854 registered cases. The total output of coal was up 19 per cent up over the same period the previous year. "

So states an article in China Daily reporting on Workplace Accidents in the first Quarter 2004. Good news of course but as the Daily points out there has been no "serious" accidents involving the death of more than 30 miners. This may be more good luck than good management though. (I placed inverted commas around serious not only because it is a quote from the article but that it implies that accidents with less than 30 deaths are not considered "Serious"! Hopefully an indication of poor journalism not state thinking)

Overall Wang Xianzheng, an official of the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS), confirmed Tuesday in his latest report that, so far this year, 287,884 industrial/workplace accidents of various types have occurred, with 38,189 people killed nationwide.

China's Vice premier Huang JuThe vice-premier Huang Ju is reported as hoping "authorities will do a better job in monitoring factors that could lead to potential accidents by developing contingent schemes, emergency rescue operations, and ensure professional quick-response rescue teams are well prepared".

As it concerns the Coal Mining industry I think it needs a little more than that. With output growing 19% per annum over same period last year and demand not likely to abate China should feel lucky that the figures for the first quarter are so favourable.The industry has inherent problems that can only be remedied by considerable focus on the industry by the central government in terms of policy making, injection of manpower and finances into the governments supervisory organs and implementation of realistic penalties including custodial sentences for negligence at all levels. It also requires shutdowns and production limits for a great many operations.

This is unlikely of course because the output of the coal mining industry is of preeminent importance to China's rapid growth. The Chinese government has demonstrated time and time again that it is willing to accept a trade off in lives for sustaining the economic rate of growth it is experiencing.

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Workplace accidents down, but more deaths

For another article on mining deaths see the following link:

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>>> AsiaNews.it <<< Each year 7000 die in coal mines