La Cina denuncia responsabilità per le morti in miniera

  • Nelle miniere cinesi 6.027 morti nel 2004, 2.187 nei primi cinque mesi 2005.
  • Governo sta cercando di concentrare il settore, facendo chiudere
    le miniere più piccole e meno produttive, di solito senza misure di
    sicurezza. Ha avviato campagna sulla sicurezza e trovato che:
  1. 4.578 funzionari governativi posseggono illegalmente azioni delle miniere di cui dovrebbero controllare la sicurezza.
  2. Molti altri hanno ricevuto tangenti in denaro perché ignorassero
    mancanza di misure di sicurezza, o insabbiassero indagini su incidenti.
  3. Il vicedirettore dell’Ufficio Sicurezza sul Lavoro del Guangdong
    aveva ricevuto oltre 12 mila $ per concedere autorizzazione a miniera
    dove poi morirono annegati 121 minatori.
  4. Il governo centrale sta facendo campagna per costringere i
    funzionari pubblici e i dirigenti di imprese statali a cedere le azioni
    che posseggono, ma vi è forte reistenza da parte delle autorità locali,
    in collusione con i proprietari delle miniere.

Study says coal industry is laden with corruption as officials hold stakes



November 3, 2005; Page A10

BEIJING — The Chinese government said a
two-month investigation into possible conflicts of interest in the coal
industry found that 4,578 government officials illegally held stakes in coal
mines, where corruption, mismanagement and other abuses contribute to thousands
of deaths each year.

According to the inquiry, which stemmed from
public pressure following highly publicized mining deaths, local officials
routinely ignored safety hazards or covered up accidents in exchange for cash
or stakes in the mines they were supposed to supervise
. Results of the
investigation were publicized yesterday.

China still relies on domestically produced
coal for more than 70% of its energy needs, but the mounting death toll for
mining accidents linked to endemic corruption and local government coverups
have embarrassed the Communist Party, even as soaring oil prices increase the
country’s need for less-expensive energy sources like coal.

In one case, 121 miners drowned in a
flooded south China pit one month after a safety official accepted a bribe to
grant a license,
according to a statement
concerning the investigation issued by the State Administration of Worker
Safety. Hu Jianchang, deputy director of the work-safety bureau of the
southern province of Guangdong, allegedly received 100,000 yuan ($12,369)
June 5 to approve the Daxing Coal Mine where the workers later died, the
statement said. The state safety bureau said the case had been referred to
local law-enforcement authorities.

Some 2,187 miners were killed in accidents
through May, according to the worker-safety administration. Last year, 6,027
miners were killed
. Initially, poor safety measures and mismanagement were
widely blamed for the deaths. But administration head Li Yizhong was quoted in
the statement as saying corruption was the root cause of the negligence.

The government has mounted a campaign to
shut down unlicensed mines
, where safety conditions
tend to be worst, but it says local authorities working in collusion with
mine owners have hampered that effort. In response, Beijing is forcing
officials and heads of state-owned companies to surrender their shares in coal
. Some are still holding on to their stakes because bankrupt or
start-up mines don’t have the cash to buy back their shares, worker-safety
officials said.

They said more cases of illegal ownership of
mine stakes by public officials are likely to come to light.

"We’re aiming to get rid of all the
cadre-held shares in coal mines, but considering the complicated situation, we
don’t expect the work could be finished in just months," a safety-administration
official said yesterday.

Han Dongfang,
a Hong Kong labor-rights activist, welcomed the government’s move, but said
Beijing must address how to step up supervision in the mines to improve the
sector’s dismal safety record. He said one way to do this would be to allow
workers to play a role in reporting safety violations.

Separately, China’s largest coal exporter,
China National Coal Group, has delayed plans to list on the Hong Kong stock
market until 2006, Zhou Dongzhou, a deputy managing director of a trading arm
of the company, was quoted by Reuters as saying yesterday. Mr. Zhou said the
group needs more time to prepare for listing.

Leave a Reply