Bone and Blood: The Price of Coal in China

Abstract The first section of the report focuses on the core dilemma faced by the government: increase production or improve safety. It examines the massive safety deficit that exists in the mining industry and examines the government’s attempts to narrow that deficit. The report suggests that the only effective way to protect the lives and rights of miners is to develop democratically elected and truly representative workers’ organizations that can stand up to the currently overwhelming power of management and safeguard working conditions at the coalface. The second section of the report focuses on the coal mine accident compensation system and the post-accident management and social damage-limitation methods used by local governments. The report uses telephone interviews with the families of coal mine accident victims and industry insiders to reveal the human face of coal mine tragedies. The report concludes with policy proposals and recommendations aimed at reducing the number of coal mine accidents, with a focus on the urgent need to give workers a voice and role in the safety monitoring and supervision process.
Author China Labour Bulletin, Research Report No.6, Hong Kong, March 2008
2 Coal, 2.4 Coal and Workers