China: At Least 2 Dead, Dozens Missing in Mine Collapse

    China: At Least 2 Dead, Dozens Missing in Mine Collapse
    Last updated Feb 22, 2023
    Image credit: China Daily/Reuters [via The Japan Times]


    • At least two people have died and more than 50 people remain missing after an open pit mine collapsed in Alxa League in China's northern inner Mongolia region on Wednesday.
    • With less than two weeks before the annual National People's Congress — a major political event — Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping encouraged rescuers to save as many lives of the missing as possible and dedicated resources to investigating the cause of the collapse.
    • Over 330 personnel organized into eight rescue teams have reportedly been sent to the site with more than 100 pieces of equipment to conduct rescue operations.
    • State media broadcaster CCTV reported that the mine, operated by Xinjing Coal Mining Company, had collapsed across a "wide area" of the shaft and that "a number of working staff and vehicles have been buried."
    • China is a nation that relies heavily on coal mining for power generation. Historically, the country's safety regulations have been criticized and attributed to causing a host of mining accidents and mining-related deaths.
    • Previous mining accidents in the country include a collapse in the Xinjiang region in December that occurred with 40 people working underground in a gold mine and a flooded coal mine in the Shanxi province in 2021 that left 20 miners trapped and two drowned.


    Anti-China narrative

    While China's Communist Party touts itself as the protector of blue-collar workers, its lax and often negligent mining regulations say otherwise. Applying more stringent rules will slow production, and in a world that has restricted energy sourcing from Russia, China is prioritizing capitalization over safety.

    Pro-China narrative

    While there's still work to be done, mine safety in China has improved significantly in recent years. The country developed an action plan to improve the mining sector and invited other nations with exemplary records in mining safety to consult on training, regulations, and equipment — actions that will all lead to a safer environment for workers and a more productive industry for the country as a whole.

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