Jonathan Watts interviewed some mine workers and wrote a report about their working and life conditions "as rescue hopes fade for 181 Chinese miners trapped underground by flooding," via The Guardian:
...Dependent on coal for 70% of its energy needs, China is ramping up production to fuel its fast-growing economy. Many colliery bosses cut corners. Despite government campaigns to improve safety, this has meant a heavy cost in lives. Last year 4,746 miners were killed in 2,845 accidents, not including the countless deaths that go unreported in small illegal collieries.
Like most of the country's 5-7 million miners, Ma was born a farmer. The 21-year-old is from the Hui Muslim ethnic minority in Qinghai province. He spent two years in a madrasa studying Islam and plans one day to become a mullah. But the pressures and temptations of industrialisation have driven him from his land and from his community....[Full Text]
[Image: Workers inside the flourite mine in Gansu, China, where a man was crushed to death by a boxcar that came off the rails last year, by Jonathan Watts and via The Guardian]
More related pictures here via The Guardian