China Journalists Demand “Hush Money” at Coal Mine

A mining accident, in which one miner was killed, didn’t get reported in the Chinese media after reporters, and scam artists posing as reporters, received hush money from the mine owner, according to a recent report in Beijing News. Reuters reports:

The mine did not report the death to the local government in northern Shanxi province when the accident happened in September, the Beijing News said. The owner was fined 8,000 yuan ($1,170).

“Around 40 or 50 ‘journalists’ came here for money,” the newspaper quoted an official at the mine as saying. They demanded sums of up to 10,000 yuan for not publicizing the death.

China’s coal mines are the world’s most dangerous, killing nearly 3,800 people last year, as high demand for energy from a booming economy pushes managers to cut safety corners.

Scams involving journalists and people posing as journalists to demand hush money are common in China.

The case last year of newspaper employee Lan Chengzhang, who was beaten to death at a local mine, highlighted the issues of illegal mines and in media discussions. Read CDT’s coverage of the case.

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