Monday, November 28, 2005

Money for nothing

As if losing access to water for several days, and being confronted with the challenges of having Benzene pollute their homes, people in Heilongjiang province in China (China's northernmost province, bordering Russia and North Korea) also face some of the worst mine-safety conditions in the world.

In case regular readers thought I was being tounge-in-cheek this weekend when I mentiond mine collapse as a problem confronted by average Chinese people, the AP has a good (and short) piece about the most recent of China's mine collapses, like many of them, this was in Heilongjiang.

The piece makes a very precise statement, phrased delicately about two competing forces in China's drive to improve mine safety:

"Efforts to shut down dangerous mines have been complicated by the country's
soaring demands for power to drive its booming economy."

I guess reform is hard when the only two sources of power are A. the Party, and B. relationships. It's probably harder when the profits to be made keep going up, while the costs stay the same. The workers are just poor peasants, after all.

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