Coal mine owners have been ordered to use some of their profits to urgently improve safety conditions. The demand issued yesterday by a senior State Council official comes after China’s appalling work safety record in mines plunged new depths.

The article goes on to say that this will raise coal prices, and that’s not a bad thing, because so much is wasted because it’s so cheap, it’s also an ecological problem.

Another article in Newsday puts this into context:
China’s Legislature Gears Up for Session
The annual meeting of China’s legislature may be little more than tightly scripted political theater, but in a country where all decisions are made in secret, it offers a rare peek behind the curtain.
Later, the author writes:
So much else in China is changing day by day — from business to technology and even village governance — but the National People’s Congress remains a relic of years gone by. Still, the annual spectacle offers a glimpse into the intentions of a government increasingly sure of China’s rising global status and able to swiftly crack down on any opposition to one-party rule.
Topping this year’s agenda is an anti-secession law aimed at curbing pro-independence sentiment in Taiwan[… .]
In closed-door sessions, delegates will discuss eliminating graft, improving workplace safety, lifting rural incomes and protecting China’s ravaged environment, while avoiding any challenges to current policy or leaders.
They also plan to debate how to discourage the abortion of female fetuses in a country where 117 boys are born for every 100 girls.

The whole issue of workplace safety in China has been on my mind recently. Here are some other stories and references:

Death Penalty for China Fireworks Plant Boss
Thursday, December 23, 2004
AP via Fox News
A Chinese factory boss has been sentenced to death for illegally producing fireworks in a workshop where 36 people were killed in an explosion last year, the government said Thursday.
Chen Jicheng set up the unlicensed factory late last year in the northeastern city of Tieling in Liaoning province, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
The factory had only been open for three days when an explosion on Dec. 30, 2003, tore apart its two workshops, killing 36 people.
The factory’s manager, You Tao, was sentenced to 7 years in prison for producing illegal fireworks, it said.
China’s fireworks industry suffers hundreds of deaths every year in fires and explosions. The industry employs thousands of people, often in poor rural areas, who do much of the work by hand.

An interesting site is Asian Labour
Asian Labour An online database of news about workers in Southeast Asia and China and the issues that affect them , including a fairly new category of Labour Stats Such data is sparse and hard to find on the internet. There are also pointers on that web site to many other web resources.

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