China: The Human Costs of ModernizationAnother in a continuing series of tragic articles about deadly conditions in China's coal mines.
Far from the soaring glass towers of Shanghai and Beijing, China's often-primitive coal mines epitomize the human cost of the nation's rising living standards. Last year, 6,995 coal miners were killed in explosions, roof collapses and floods, according to government statistics. (By comparison, 27 American coal miners lost their lives in 2002.) Independent experts say China's death toll is actually closer to 10,000, because some mine owners routinely minimize casualty figures and pay victims' families to keep quiet.