Rough month for Heilongjiang

As of yesterday, the “11/27” mining disaster in Heilongjiang Province (far northeast, same province that bore the brunt of the benzene spill) had claimed 162 lives. 73 people still had a chance of survival, and 7 people were still missing. The Beijing newspapers are calling it an “especially serious explosion accident,” and although the investigation is just beginning, it looks like the mining company (Dragon Coal Group) has been seriously negligent.

But the problem clearly doesn’t end with the Dragon Coal Group– fatal mining accidents are far too common in China. The Xin jing bao reports that the “11/27” disaster is the twenty-first mining accident since 1949 to claim more than 100 lives at once. Maybe investigator Li Yi’s final report on the Heilongjiang disaster will galvanize the government to make changes in enforcement of mining regulations. As in many cases, it sounds like it is not that the laws governing mine operations are inadequate, but that companies can ignore them with impunity. That is, until they lose half their workforce to a spectacular disaster.


  1. Rough month for Dongzhou too. The town is a fishing village near HK. The residents said Friday that as many as 20 people were killed by the paramilitary police this week, and as many as 50 other residents remained unaccounted for since the shootings on Tuesday. The tragedy started when the police opened fire on crowds to put down a demonstration over plans for a power plant.
    Growing peopels’unrest leads to what?!

  2. There’s nothing about that in the news here in China, of course. SSK, as someone well-versed in mandates and revolutions, do you see anything familiar in the unrest of recent years?

  3. Dongzhou news was on the NYT a couple of days ago, and today I see it on CNN as well, and it quotes the government claimed 3 deaths in the event. In the same news article, it says that
    by the government’s count, China had more than 70,000 cases of rural unrest last year.
    Even if we just believe the number which the government gives, it is already a considerable number–about 5,830 per month, 194 per day.
    Now I wonder how much Chinese media cover…

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