Asian Labour News is a source of labour issues in China and Southern Asia which is daily read for me, which at times seems to be an endless roll-call of deaths and injuries in mines and other shoddy industrial practices. They have just published China: A summary of labour-related news for July 2004, and maybe it’s not all grim.
It’s hard sometimes to see beyond the tragedies, but a story in China Energy Online that mentioned Chai Jiumao, Managing director of the Shanxi Fenxi Mining Group, provides some small glimmer of hope. Chai said his company has invested more than 100 million yuan in 2002 and 2003 to install safety equipment such as gas monitoring and controlling system for its new coal mines. The Beijing Morning News announced, also, that the city aimed to eliminate small coal mines with poor safety conditions and frequent accidents. Later in the month, Beijing News announced that the city would in fact close all township and village coal mines by 2010.
In further positive news, Beijing announced it would develop a rescue centre for workplace safety, mining and dangerous chemicals. Specialised rescue teams for construction and chemical accidents will be set up and given specialized training.