How a Nation’s Drive for Power is Killing the Workers Forced to do the Dirty Work

This week I watched/used an interactive video to explore the state of mining operations in the most dangerous mining region in the world. China is quickly becoming a major world power and the country needs coal, and lots of it, to power its rise to power. Watching the video titled “Journey to the end of Coal” really opened my eyes to an issue I had no idea even existed. The video stated, “everyday, about 20 deaths occur” (Dressen) in the state run and private coal mines in China. The owners of the mines claim that the safety of their miners is very important to them, yet they still send them into very unsafe working conditions compared to mines operating in the rest of the world.

I wondered why the miners wouldn’t leave the business. Could they leave to find a different job? I soon realized they couldn’t. The miners are indirectly forced to keep mining in order to try and provide for their families. The miners do not make much and cannot afford to relocate to find a new job. One miner in the video explained he felt “condemned to go back down” (Dressen) into the mines. He had to return to work even though he knew how dangerous it was.

Many of the coal mines in China should be closed because of how unsafe they are. Many times in the video it mentions people being paid off. In once instance, a coal miner talking about why the mines are not being closed permanently said, “They [Mine owners] will invite the inspectors to the restaurant…[and] negotiate a price with them.” (Dressen). China’s mining industry is so focused on making a major profit and to power the nation’s growing economy, that they do not care about the miners and will pay off inspectors in order to keep the mines up and running.

Coal mining in China must see major changes! The current way things are done is outrageous and the lives of the miners working so hard to power the nation should be respected and valued more than they are.

Link to video:

Source: Dressen, Arnaud. “Online Screening: Journey To The End Of Coal.” Honkytonk Films – Online Screening: Journey To The End Of Coal. Klynt Editing & Publishing App., n.d. Web. 25 July 2016.

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