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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Blood and coal: the human cost of cheap Chinese goods

China is still known as the manufacturing workbank of the world. It is growing rapidly and it is resource hungry.

But what is the effect of all this? For one, may be collasing mines and tragic accidents. Everybody knows stories of collapsing mines and the death tolls that come with it.

Is this the price that we pay for cheap goods?

The article from the Guardian is outlining some of those problems that come with it. Let me show you some:

"Countless other accidents at small unregistered mines go unreported because the owners - often in collusion with local officials - buy off or threaten the victims' families. There is widespread anger that miners' lives are being sacrificed for economic growth."


"The five-mile deep pit at Chenjiashan had a particularly bad reputation. Four years ago, 38 men died in a gas explosion. Five days before the latest accident a fire broke out underground. "We came up, but the bosses told us to go back. We didn't want to, but we had to," says one miner, Li, who lost his brother in the explosion. "We all needed the money and there is a penalty of 100 yuan for refusing to go down."

The managers, who had reportedly been promised a hefty bonus to increase production, ordered the men to keep working even though it had become hard to breathe underground."

This is tough to take, of course. May be the price that we pay is too low - since the price of those suffering in China is too high?

(By Asia Business Consulting)