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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.

Monday, May 31, 2004

China-US Comparative: A Difference In Values

China Mining TragedyIn 2003 the United States Of America mined 1.07 million tons of coal. In 2003 China mined 1.7 million tons of coal.

In 2003 53 people died in coal mine accidents in the United States. In 2003 between 7,200 and 10,000 died in coal mine accidents in China.

A quote from U.S Coal mine safety expert H.L. Boling at a recent Joint Mine Safety and Health Conference in Salt Lake City Utah, United States:

"Every accident is preventable." And telling someone to hurry at their job "is like going out and telling a person to have an accident."

A sign at entrance to the mine shaft at Ximing Mine, a major state-owned mine on the outskirts of Shanxi's capital Taiyuan

"Come up short today, must make it up tomorrow,"

Differing attitudes differing safety results.

Of course direct general comparisons in coal mining safety are not accurate. Different mining operations have different risks, open cut mining for example is less dangerous than underground mining but despite this nothing can ameliorate China's record in the comparative results of these two major mining countries.

America has not always been so successful in it's mine safety but we have to go back to 1907 when last the United States equaled China's daily official coal mine death rate of 20 a day.

But China now, as distinct to the U.S. of 1907, has the benefit of almost 100 years of technology improvements to call upon, if it wished. Almost one hundred years of the combined experience of the coal mining industry from all around the world to look to for answers to her atrocious record, if she wished.

No, there can be no excuses, no extenuating circumstances for this tragic loss of life ,only the pitch black fact that in China human life runs a very poor second to the economy.

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