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» 11/30/2004
CHINA
Coal mine explosion: an announced tragedy

Fire raging underground announced the explosion but management threatened miners with punishment or job suspension.



Beijing (AsiaNews/Scmp) – Miners working at the site of Sunday's fatal coal mine blast in Shaanxi had been ordered back underground a week ago even though management knew there was a fire raging below.

The death toll in a coal mine explosion in central China has risen to 63, with 103 miners missing and with no hope to find some still alive, as an underground fire and toxic fumes released by the blast hampered rescue work.

The brother of one missing employee, a man surnamed Wang, said experienced miners initially refused to return to work underground after the fire broke out but complied when management threatened them with punishment or job suspension.

Mr Wang said his brother claimed the mine did not want to stop production during the fire and had insisted on higher output.

The mother of one mine worker told that her son had worked with a fire-fighting team throughout last week to put out the underground blaze. Many relatives of the victims said they needed an explanation from the mine.

Tongchuan government and Chenjiashan mine officials were unavailable to comment on whether they had known about a fire before the explosion.

An editor said the newspaper had sent reporters to cover the disaster but had been banned from talking to family members of victims and from filing their own stories. "We were asked to run follow-up stories, but all we can use are those from Xinhua or China Central Television," the editor said.

Coal miner-turned-photographer Song Chao worked a Shandong pit for six years and said safety was not a big issue. "We worked six hours a day underground and were paid up to 3,000 yuan per month," Mr Song said. "It's really a high income for rural areas so we don't take safety too seriously."


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See also
12/01/2004 CHINA
Death toll at mine blast rises to 166
11/22/2004 CHINA
49 killed in mine fire disaster, 11 reported missing
12/10/2004 CHINA
Shanxi: Thirty-three dead in mine blast
12/20/2004 CHINA
Sichuan: mine explosion kills 14, injures 3
02/23/2009 CHINA
Mine blast in Shanxi leaves 74 dead, hundreds injured
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Mine explosion kills 65
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China mine gas blast kills 21
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Death toll from mine accidents rises to 51
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At least eight dead and 30 trapped in two Chinese mines
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Coal mining death toll rises by 20pc
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Coal mine explosions kill 60 in Shanxi
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Coal mine explosion in northern China traps 29 workers
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Explosion in Shanxi: at least 20 schoolchildren dead
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Chinese Catholics to help mining victims
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The inexorable slaughter of Chinese miners: An overview
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In two days 220 men die in mining accidents
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At least 203 killed in Liaoning coal mine blast
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Sichuan: mine explosion kills 14, injures 3
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Hunan: 4 dead, 16 missing in mine disaster
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Shanxi: Thirty-three dead in mine blast
china
China sees no alternative to the vicious circle of mining and deaths
CHINA
Death toll at mine blast rises to 166
CHINA
Shaanxi: no chance of survival for 141 trapped miners
china
Up to 20,000 miners die every year to meet China roaring coal demand
CHINA
49 killed in mine fire disaster, 11 reported missing
china
Death toll rises in Chinese coal mine explosion
CHINA
Explosion in Chinese coal mine kills at least 56
CHINA
Coal miners condemned to death
china
Mine explosion: 15 dead

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pp. 176
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