Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Blood and coal: the human cost of cheap Chinese goods

"More than 5,000 Chinese miners are killed each year, 75% of the global total, even though the country produces only a third of the world's coal. Working under appalling safety conditions, they are sacrificed to fuel the factories that make the cheap goods snapped up by consumers in Britain and other wealthy nations."

"Why is a meeting between four middle-aged women and a foreign journalist considered such a threat? The women are not subversives, they are widows and bereaved daughters. Their husbands and fathers were among the 166 men killed in an explosion at the Chenjiashan colliery in Miaowan, a mining community in north-west China's Sha'anxi province, last November. Such accidents are so common in China that their plight and that of tens of thousands of other mining widows has become one of the most sensitive issues facing the communist government."


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