As we read about yet more mining accidents, here is a moving testimony to the dangers China’s miners face every day. Legal Daily carried the testimony — Testament of a Coal Mine Worker — via Cultural Vision on 12 March, 2007. Below is a translation (by CDT) of the main text:
Father, mother, brother and sister,
As you read this letter, I am dead already. Don’t cry for me. I chose to die by myself and don’t be sad. Father and sister should see doctors quickly for their diseases. Brother also needs money for tuition. My death is worthy if it can bring all of you out of hardship and pain.
I am still not sure which way I will die. If many coal mine workers die at the same time, the news will spread. The local officials will come to investigate it. Then the mine owner will pay 200,000 Yuan ($25,000) compensation for each. But if only I die, you should ask for 250,000 Yuan ($31,250) from the mine owner, privately. I know this because there was an exact example half a month ago.
Father and mother, you two don’t have to come for my death. You let my fellow workers Mingqi and Mingfa to take care of this issue. They are experienced and persuasive. You tell them to ask 300,000 Yuan from the mine owner for my death first. The owner will refuse it, and then you can scare him by pretending to tell the newspaper and radio station. The mine owner is scared of that, so we can get more money from him. You must insist on at least 250,000 Yuan compensation. Don’t worry about the mine owner. He earns far more than that and can afford to compensate you easily. Remind Mingqi not to pressure the mine owner too much because he has friends in the underworld. I don’t want Mingqi to get into trouble.
Your son, Daguang
Oct. 8, 2006
Epilogue: On 4 Dec, 2006, Li Daguang died in a coal mine accident in Guizhou. His fellow workers took his testament at his home. Li Daguang’s family got 250,000 Yuan eventually.
– Photo from Wozy blog.