Hewers Of Death

Three thousand seven hundred and eighty six were killed in coal mining accidents in China in 2007, Xinhua reports.

Even after two years of 20% falls in fatalities and the closing of 11,115 small operations, China’s coal mines are still the most dangerous in the world. This statistic was published in the China Daily in 2004, but gives a sense of the scale of the problem:

China produced 35 percent of the world’s coal last year, but reported 80 percent of the total deaths in coal mine accidents, according to statistics with the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS).

Today, two-years into a safety crackdown, China’s bigger coal mines are no safer than those in India and Poland and the small ones ten times more dangerous, says Li Yizhong, director of the State Administration of Workplace Safety. Not a record to be proud of.

And it continues; six miners were killed in a coal mine fire in eastern Jiangxi province this weekend, while five bodies were recovered from a flooded mine in Sichuan province on Thursday.

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