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  • » 01/14/2008, 00.00


    Beijing: death in mines decrease

    According to the government, the number of deaths in Chinese mines fell by 20% in 2007, for a total death count of 3,800. Independent statistics however account at least 20 thousand deaths a year, never reported to authorities to avoid mine closures.

    Beijing (AsiaNews) – Victims of fatal mine accidents fell by over 20% in 2007, for a total death count of  3,800. The news was reported by central and state media.  However grave doubts surround the credibility of these official statistics.  

    Li Yizhong, head of the State Administration of Work Safety, said: “It is the second consecutive year for the country to report a 20 per cent fall in coal mine accident fatalities. In 2002, the production of over 1 million tonnes of coal killed almost 5 people.  In 2007, that number fell to 1.5 people”.

    Chinese mines are the most dangerous in the world.  To meet increased demand for energy in the country  – 70% coal based – mine owners push extraction to the extreme but fail to guarantee mine security.  In 2007, Chinese miners – underpaid and overworked – extracted over 2.52 billion tonnes of coal.

    However statistics on mine fatalities are barely credible, given that many deaths are never reported to avoid the closures of the plants, as established by law.  According to independent reports deaths iin Chinese mines amount to at least 20 thousand every year.

    In the last two years the central government has approved a series of measures on mine security, but they are rarely enforced.  The guilty are not brought to justice: in 2006, 95% of Party officials implicated in the ownership of mines where fatal accidents occurred, were acquitted.



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    See also

    07/11/2005 CHINA
    Mining executives to go down into the mines
    This directive comes at a time when accidents continue unabated. In Hebei province dozens of miners die in cave-ins in three gypsum mines. Other serious accidents occur in Hunan and Hubei provinces.

    15/11/2006 CHINA
    Coal mines in China: cemeteries for migrants

    According to official sources, the growing demand for coal prompts managers to increase production and to reopen illegal mines. More than 100 miners have died in just a few days in accidents that could have been averted.

    26/11/2014 CHINA
    China, yet another massacre of miners: a fire kills 24 workers in Liaoning
    The fire was caused by a slight earthquake, that ignited accumulated coal dust. The company which operates the mine, the state Fuxin Coal Corporation, has a long history of mining accidents: in 2005, due to the negligence and corruption of its leaders, 214 workers died in another quarry.

    26/09/2006 CHINA
    2,900 die in Chinese mines over 8 months

    Although the extent of disasters is less this year, the situation remains serious despite government commitment. Official sources pointed to "collusion" between government officials and coal mine owners as being one of the causes.

    30/11/2006 CHINA
    Two managers condemned for death of 166 miners in Shaanxi

    They received five-year jail terms for "negligence". After a fire broke out in their mine, they ordered miners to resume production; 166 were killed in a blast shortly afterwards.

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