Wednesday 18 October 2017

Chinese anger at 37 coal mine deaths

Malcolm Moore

Thirty seven miners trapped after an explosion at a Chinese coal mine have been confirmed dead, prompting comparisons to the Chilean mine rescue and triggering anger at China's inability to ensure mine safety.

Chinese state media attacked the near-total absence of emergency shelters inside Chinese mines, which are the most dangerous in the world.

While the Chilean miners were able to reach a safety shelter and access fresh air, food and water, Chinese miners have no such option.

"There was no rescue equipment in the tunnels, no food or water and most of the time, the safety zones were filled with scrap metal and debris. Also, the ventilation fans were not strong enough to circulate the air sufficiently," said Chen Jiaguo, one of the survivors, to the Beijing News.

"When the trapped Chilean miners were rescued, I cheered for them. But I feel so sad and bitter for our own countrymen," said one commenter on Netease, an internet forum.

Chinese censors, keen to play down the incident, removed all but 700 out of 24,000 comments on Netease, and restricted the news of the deaths to short bulletins.

A total of 276 miners were underground when 2,500 tonnes of coal dust enveloped a coal mine in Yuzhou, Henan province, after a gas explosion in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Although China's mine safety has improved from the low point of 2002, when 7,000 deaths were recorded, the death toll has begun to tick up again and reached 2,600 last year. Comments Facility

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