The misery of China’s coal miners

Thanks to Stephen Frost at CSR Asia, I found this devastating visual account of the achingly hard life of China’s coal miners.

Reports on miners’ deaths are so common in China one scarcely gives them any thought. These photographs remind us that each of those statistics is a human being, a brother, a father, a son. Stephen also offers an English translation of the Chinese text.

The Discussion: 13 Comments

ugh. it’s things like this – along with the global warming implications – that are making me reconsider my knee-jerk anti-nuke stance. I’m beginning to think that with proper safeguards, nuclear power might be far safer and better for the environment than the continued pursuit of coal…

April 19, 2005 @ 1:17 am | Comment


My Chinese is nowhere near good enough to translate those captions as they whiz past – but from what I could make out, I’d say the origin of this is either Taiwan or Hong Kong, since they seem to be using traditional characters.

April 19, 2005 @ 1:22 am | Comment

Wow! excuse me, the chinese characters were a total accident – I thought my Chinese language kit didn’t work on Haloscan and I was just kind of messing around because I accidentally switched to chinese… and I don’t know why there’s that 计 there, but…cool!

April 19, 2005 @ 1:25 am | Comment

This comment doesn’t belong in this thread, but I’m putting it here since there’s nowhere else suitable. I am wondering if anyone knows anything about Epoch Times? Who are they … they are clearly anti-CCP, but who funds them, etc? And does anyone know if these 9 Commentaries that they keep going on about are having anything like the impact that they claim?

April 19, 2005 @ 3:09 am | Comment


The Epoch Times, along with NTD channel in NYC, in Canada, etc etc, are all Falungong media outlets. I am amazed that how they finance all those propagandas.

I don’t believe the ‘ 9-Commentary’ serie has any meaningful impact inside China, at least not as visible as the satellite signal hijack and pro-FLG graffiti randomly showing up.

April 19, 2005 @ 3:18 am | Comment

Other Lisa:

From what you post above, it’s in Simplified Chinese (China), not traditional version.

The extra character could be brought up by the software to form a word ‘accountant’.

April 19, 2005 @ 3:21 am | Comment

Other Lisa: You can see a full English translation of the Chinese in the final link in Richard’s post above (or just click here). You’re right about the source: it’s the Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese. If you follow the link to the English translation, you’ll see that they’re asking people to email the demands outlined in the last frame to Wen Jiabao.

If you want to read more on China’s coal mine sector, you could try an article I wrote for our weekly newsletter here [opens as pdf]. Nothing beats images and great music, though.

Richard: thanks for linking to the site. The more people who see the presentation the better. Many of us are working hard to try and make Chinese coal mining safer and your link is a valuable addition to that.

April 19, 2005 @ 3:59 am | Comment

There is a good article in the China Quarterly about government policy toward coal mines, which points out that things are a lot more complex than they first appear.

To summarize. Last year the government made a huge effort to close unsafe coal mines and improve safety standards but backed off because of resistance from the ***coal miners***. The problem is that adding safety equipment make a lot of the smaller private mines unprofitable, which caused them to close, which put miners out of work.

One of the ironies is that some of the biggest supporters of coal mine safety are the larger state owned mines. You see they can afford the safety equipment and regulations, and they are happy about putting their smaller competitors out of business.

April 19, 2005 @ 5:46 am | Comment

Bellevue, I actually wrote those (simplified) characters – I was just fooling around because I’d actually switched my language to Chinese. I”ve never managed to make any come up successfully in Haloscan, and I have tried. Think maybe it works with firefox and not with Safari. But who knows?

Stephen,thanks so much for the insightful presentation. I will definitely read the translation.

April 19, 2005 @ 10:29 am | Comment

(Breaking News) The new Pope is out, Pope Benedict XVI from Germany.

April 19, 2005 @ 10:49 am | Comment

Wikipedia is in lightning speed to say “the Malachy prophecy was fulfilled.” Is the new selection of Pope a self fulfilling prophecy to please the rapture crowd.

“Following John Paul II, only two popes remain in the prophecy. The next motto is Gloria Olivae, the glory of the olive. This motto has led to speculation that the next pontiff will be from the Order of Saint Benedict. The prophecy was fulfilled (in a way…) when he picked Benedict XVI as his papal name. Others think that “olive” may mean that the new pope is somehow connected to Israel, because St. Malachy is known to have used the name “Olive” for that region. Also, Our Lady of Guadalupe is described as being “olive-skinned” as are the peoples of Central America; several papabili currently hail from that area.”

April 19, 2005 @ 10:59 am | Comment

Hehe. Anyone else as amused by me that the Chief Inquistor of the Church has now become Pope?

April 19, 2005 @ 4:08 pm | Comment

Not amused AT ALL. It’s very grim news. Now let’s get back to the topic.

April 19, 2005 @ 5:47 pm | Comment

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