Chinese coal: The Dangers of Prosperity

The Chinese Industry has a very strong necessity for coal. According to, the leading consumer in coal is China – almost quadruple that of the US.  There is such a need, unfortunately, that the companies and government of China will do anything to get their hands on it. The corruption of the local inspection agencies is so great that even after the failed inspection of some private mines, their closings are continuously pushed back due to the bribes of the local agencies.

The optional video this week took us on a journey through China’s most dangerous coal mines and their workers. The workers were mentally scarred from the dangerous mines, describing events that had killed their friends and would forever haunt them. They lived in horrible living conditions and their entire villages relied on the coal itself to warm their homes and cook. One woman, as you had traveled through the village, was standing by the coal trucks waiting for the coal to drop off of the passing trucks. As you asked her why she would do that considering the health risks, she shrugs it off, naively stating that the agencies would have notified her of such health risks. This, to me, is the most heart-wrenching story in the video. “No, it is not dangerous. Otherwise, the environmental bureau would have informed us.” With such trust in the government and for the government to abuse that trust is inexcusable. This is just as dangerous as the health risks of the mines themselves. If the government can blatantly abuse the trust of this woman, than they can for everyone one in their entire country. This makes me wonder what kind of videos were made about the U.S. coal mines.

Another man had just watched his friends die in a coal accident and was forced to return to such a dangerous place due to the nature of the economy. “Corruption reigns.” He said. “The police, the mine owners, the local authorities….” He went on to describe the horrific event of a gas explosion that had killed twelve of his friends and workers, but he would have to return because the mine owners never paid him and he was a thousand miles away from his family. Another tragedy like the thousands of others that occur everyday in China. The corruption that unfolds in the Chinese coal mines is worse than the dangers of the coal mines themselves. With the corruption taking over and without proper governance, these dangers will always continue instead of improve.


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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