02/15/2006, 00.00
CHINA
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Over 35,000 "unsafe" industries to be shut down

This was announced today by the agency for occupational safety. The companies were found to be "inadequate and dangerous" despite a year of grace and billions of yuan spent by Beijing to get them up to scratch.

Beijing (AsiaNews/SCMP) – China's work safety agency today announced the imminent closure of 35,842 industries in various sectors which do not meet minimum safety standards imposed by the government.

The government agency said the companies facing closure are: 8,053 non coal mines; 2,500 dangerous chemical companies, 350 fireworks makers, 24,923 construction companies and 16 explosives manufacturers.

These industries were given a year to get into line with regulations and Beijing allocated several billion yuan to adapt their structures to international standards of prevention of work accidents. But corruption among officials put paid to all efforts made.

The decision follows continued nationwide protests for victims of Chinese industry. According to government statistics, more than 6,000 miners die each year in "foreseeable accidents", but independent sources point to at least 20,000 "hidden" victims of owners who seek to avoid closure and government-imposed fines.

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