Exposing the Wildcat Mines of Hengshan County, Shaanxi

Danwei points us to a report from China Radio International about a case in Shaanxi in which two local teachers were forced to suspend their classes in order to prevent relatives from petitioning against illegal mines in their area:

Li Yanrong, one of the teachers ordered to stop classes, told reporters that she taught at Suzhuangze School, which was situated in a good location outside of metropolitan Yulin, so she was afraid of being transferred to a more remote location. Around June 28, the school leadership called her up to tell her that someone from the village had submitted a petition, and she was to return home to conduct ideological work. If was successful, she could come back to work. If not, then the next semester she would be transferred away from Suzhuangze.

Suzhuangze principal An said, “This has nothing to do with the school. It was the decision of the county leadership.”

Bai Boling, a teacher at Shajiawan Elementary School, was not from the same township as Li Yanrong but met with the same fate. Bai said that the principal notified her of her suspended classes, and afterward a township party secretary came to have a chat. The town secretary of Dianshi, Cao Feng, said that he would be relieved of his position if he did not get the work done.

[…] Locals say that illegal extraction outside of the mine’s boundaries led to more than 200 mu (13.3 hectares) of arable land cracking and sinking to various degrees, and to water depletion and a shortage of potable water. Hu Zhenwu, a villager, said that there was a major collapse on the mountainside last September because the mine was extracting beyond its borders and operating illegally, and had also extracted its protective columns. After the collapse, well levels dropped day by day, and before twenty days were out there was not a drop to be found. More than 200 mu of was affected.

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