» 11/15/2006, 00.00
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.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) More than 100 miners have been killed in a string of accidents in eight days, according to the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS). The authorities are unable to manage effective safety inspections as mines operate without a licence or in violation of security limits.
Three accidents happened in the northern province of Shanxi, the largest coal producer and also the area hardest hit by disasters. So far, 26 people have been confirmed killed in a blast on the night of Sunday, 12 November in Nanshan mine in Wangyu village, Lingshi County. There are still eight people "missing" but right from the start it was clear that it would be very hard to save them because of toxic gas and fire in the tunnel. Victims were above all migrants from Shandong and Sichuan. The mine produces 90,000 tons of coal per year but has been working for six months without a licence.
Meanwhile the death toll of an accident on 5 November in Jiaojiazhai mine in Xinzhou city has risen to 40, with seven miners still "missing". The outcome could have been far worse, considering that there were 393 miners at work in the pit when the explosion occurred. Two and half hours earlier, the security system had signalled an abnormal gas concentration with a high risk of explosion but the managers did not any steps to suspend work. Now they have "escaped", without even reporting the disaster to the local authorities.
On 8 November, a gas explosion in Xinpo mine in Leiyang City in Hunan left eight miners missing. Hope is fading fast of finding them alive because of the high intensity of toxic gas. The managers did not even know the name of the miners on duty and Li Ming, vice mayor, said that to find who the missing people were, "we had to visit the miners' families one by one".
According to official statistics, in October, the number of coal mine accidents surged by 26.1% over September. The number of miners killed rose by 44%. The SAWS report shows that China's coal mine safety is "growing worse" and there is a high risk of mines closed because they were unsafe resuming production. Coal accounts for nearly 70% of the country's energy sources. To meet growing demands, steep production targets are often achieved at the expense of safety norms. The central government has long been trying to make mines safer places to work in but the reality is that local government fail to intervene with sufficient inspections and sanctions against those violating security norms. Even the security authorities intervene strongly after grave disasters have taken place. In the first nine months of 2006, 23% less deaths were reported than in 2005. But anyhow, there were more than 2,000 accidents that claimed 3,284 victims.
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.
50 killed in yet another mine blast
The explosion went off in a government mine; more than 138 people are missing. The government put the death toll at 30.
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.
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.
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.
Syrian Trappist nuns say Western powers and factional media fuel war propaganda
In a written appeal, the religious systematically take apart the version of the conflict touted by governments, NGOs and international news organizations. In Ghouta east, jihadists attack the capital and use civilians as human shields. The Syrian government and people have a duty to defend themselves from external attacks. The conflict alone has undermined the coexistence between Christians and Muslims in the country.
Xinjiang, crosses, domes, statues destroyed: the new 'Sinicized' Cultural Revolution
Crosses removed from the domes and the tympanum of Yining Church as well as external decorations and crosses, and the Way of the Cross within the church. The same happened at the churches of Manas and Hutubi. The Cross represents "a foreign religious infiltration ". Prayer services forbidden even in private houses under the threat of arrests and re-education. Children and young people forbidden to enter churches. Religious revival frightens the Party.
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