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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.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Bad News For China Coal Mining Fatality Levels.


EU Compromise Points to higher death tolls



China Mining TragedyChina and the European Union (EU) have reached agreement over the export of Coking Coal. The EU announced that a deal has been agreed whereby China will at least maintain it's 2003 export level for 2004.

China, facing incredible demand for coal and coke domestically due to the skyrocketing economy, had initially balked at honouring a coke export agreement it had with the EU. The EU as a result threatened to take action in the World Trade organization which could have been quite damaging to China especially given it's current push to have the EU's arms embargo lifted.

By caving in to the EU China has virtually signed the death warrants for many more Chinese miners as, unofficially no doubt, corners will be cut, rules ignored and safety compromised as the Government pushes the industry to the limit to milk every last tonne out it. This in an industry already over stretched trying to keep up with demand increasing a huge 19% per annum.

Despite a relatively safe start to this year in terms of the number of deaths recent tragedies have proven that the hiatus was only temporary. Last year officially some 7,200 coal miners died though several analysts believe the real figure could be upwards of 10,000.

China has proven time and time again that human life is secondary to the needs of the economy. Nowhere is this more evident than in China's coal mining industry. Despite years of promised crackdowns to increase safety levels and weed out illegal operations nothing concrete has come to fruition.


"China averts EU trade dispute" Daniel Dombey. FT.com / World / UK. 30/6/04."http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1084907916947&p=1012571727159"1/6/04