The terrible plight of China's mine workers

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The terrible plight of China's mine workers



Yes it's wonderful that so many were rescued here, however miners are still dying every day in China. How could this tragedy have happened - why are safety procedures not in place for these workers? Flooding seems to be major problem at these mines.

China hails 'miracle' rescue of more than 100 trapped minersRelatives celebrate as mineworkers are freed from flooded shaft after eight days trapped underground with no food or water

In a country where seven workers a day die in mines, there was little cause for optimism. More than a week after millions of gallons of water flooded north China's Wangjialing pit, even relatives abandoned hope for the loved ones trapped inside.

But today rescuers hailed a miracle as they pulled more than 100 miners to safety after eight days trapped underground. They had survived by strapping themselves to the walls, eating sawdust and sheer tenacity.

"This is probably one of the most amazing rescues in the history of mining anywhere," David Feickert, a mine safety adviser to the Chinese government, told the Associated Press.



 Of course, there's no corruption in the UK or Canada, is there? Wink
Analysis: the most dangerous job on earth
A rescued miner is taken out of the flooded Wangjialing coal mine in Xiangning, north China's Shanxi Province
Mining is dangerous in any country. But in China, where mine owners count on untold profits from producing the black gold that accounts for 70 percent of the country's energy needs, the temptations to cut corners are enormous.

This is one reason the authorities have clamped down on private mines, forcibly closing thousands over the last two years. Some 70 percent of all deaths are in privately owned collieries. And as many have closed, so the safety record has improved.
But enforcement is far from perfect in a system where local officials are easy prey to coal entrepreneurs who wine and dine the Government and slip red envelopes stuffed with cash to party officials if they will only turn a blind eye to the safety shortcomings at their pits.


Every once in a while, when I worked underground,  I'd look up at the back and think to myself, "There's an underground lake and 3 000 feet of rock above my head.  If some of that collapsed or the shaft flooded, I'd be forked."  I spent most of my time there not thinking about that.

I heard on the CBC news today that something like 2600 Chinese miners die on the job every year.  Some workers' paradise.


My granfather worked in the coal mines in England. They were always having accidents. Granddad said the companies would try to cut corners on slack removal(coal dust). Gases would build up as a result and explosions were common. They'd even order the safety holes along the tracks filled with coal dust. And if there was a runaway coal car, the gob holes were filled and no place to get out of the way. Granddad said for every ton of coal a ton of slack had to come out of the mine. Worker's safety and private enterprise are generally incompatible themes. They went on strike in 1925. Churchill suggested they bring in the army to force them back to work and even turn the machine guns on them if things got rough.

Joey Ramone

My father and grandfather worked in Canadian mines.  My maternal grandfather was a union activist involved in the great Kirkland Lake strike of 1941-42. My mother told us of seeing OPP riot squad goons marching up and down the streets to intimidate workers and their families.  The situation of Chinese miners is similar today, if not worse. Here's 2 sites I like with news for and about Chinese workers:


Coal mines whether they be in China, Canada, or the USA, certainly sound like good places to stay away from. Apparently Worksafe BC does not have jursidiction over mines in BC.  The mining industry must feel the government safety measures are too strict.  Go figure.

I am convinced the only time we will have safe mines is when the executive offices are in the mines themselves. 

welder welder's picture

I've said before that the labour movement has to become truly "international" to fight the globalists at their own game.One of the most obvious places where organized labour could probably get a foothold is in just about any Chinese coal mine.Don't tell me that those Chinese miners don't want things to get better for them.Don't tell me that they don't have health and safety issues that they want action on.Unfortunately,they seem to be stuck in a system that deliberately devalues there entire existence to nothing more than disposable instruments of the Chinese coal industry.

The Chinese Corporatist Fascists that run these entities need a serious punch in the mouth because they will not get it straight on their own...


Capitalists are capitalists all over the world including in China.  Note above that the deaths are primarily from privately owned mines where the corruption is rampant. This is definitely a governance issue that the central government needs to be very tough about.  Bribing officials is the preferred way for capitalists all over the world to get their way.  Like the $3 million to the Judge's campaign to get Murrey Coal out of litigation that would provide protection for the community but hurt their bottom line.

Its the greed motive inherent in the capitalist system that caused deaths. 

The fight for safety in coal mines goes back more than a hundred years.  The reason we have few deaths in Canadian coal mines is we have very few underground coal mines left. 

Dunsmuir killed way more Chinese than British miners but he didn't much care who he killed. We have streets everywhere in BC named after him. That is our celebration of unfettered capitalism I wonder if the Chinese are going to build monuments to their murderous mine owners.


This is one reason why the Government has clamped down on private mines, closing thousands over the past two years. About 70 per cent of all deaths are in privately owned collieries and, as many have closed, the overall safety record has improved.

But enforcement is far from perfect in a system where local officials are easy prey to coal entrepreneurs who wine and dine them and slip across envelopes stuffed with cash so that they turn a blind eye to safety shortcomings and dodgy work practices.