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Coal Mine Explosion Kills 203 in China

Coal Mine Explosion Kills 203 in China

As of 5:00 am (Beijing time) on February 15, 203 miners were killed, 22were injured in an explosion at Sunjiawan coal mine in Liaoning Province, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The Coal Mine Safety Monitoring Department of Fuxin city, Liaoning said that the accident occurred at 3:00 pm on February 14 approximately 242 meters underground.

The Liaoning provincial government, Liaoning Administration of Work Safety, Liaoning Administration of Coal Mine Safety, and relevant departments of the Fuxin municipal government have sent an emergency salvage and investigation group to the accident site. Currently, an investigation of the cause of the accident is still underway.

China has the largest mining industry, as well as the highest accident rate, in the world. According to official statistics, there were more than 6,000 deaths in coal mine accidents in 2004 and 6,702 in 2003, which is 80 percent of people who died of such incidents worldwide. As many local governments have been accused of covering up information related to mining accidents, the actual number may be much higher.

The Sunjiawan accident is the largest coal mine accident in 2005, just a few months after the Tongchuan accident and Daping accident which killed 166 and 148 miners, respectively. It’s not a coincidence that there are frequent major mine accidents. Investigations have shown that most of the accidents can be traced to poor safety practices.

“The Chinese government has an undeniable responsibility for this accident, and for all the coal mine accidents that have occurred before, “ said Li Qiang, executive director of China Labor Watch. “It is true that China has a huge demand on coal for its rapid economic development, but the development should not be achieved at the expense of miners’ lives.”

China Labor Watch strongly urges the government to take measures to reduce the high accident rate in its mining industry and allow independent non-government organizations to monitor work safety.

Li Qiang

Executive director, China Labor Watch

© Scoop Media

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