Archive for October, 2010

Going…down?

October 8, 2010

Since starting this blog, I’ve written many things about the Chinese mines as they are constantly popping up in the news. They are without doubt one of the most dangerous places to work on earth, with a further 2,600 people dying in them during the past year alone. And that’s just the reported figure! God only knows what the real number was…and knowing the Chinese, perhaps double that would be more accurate.

In what I have to say is a definitely amusing turn of events, Premier Wen Jiabao has ordered that mine managers themselves are to start spending time in their own mines, or suffer harsh fines. It has been determined that many managers spend little to no time in their own mines, thus are oblivious to the terrible lack of safety standards within.

I have to say that I love this concept. The ‘boss’ figure in China – the dreaded ‘laoban’ seems to be an all-powerful entity. There are two types of people in China (ok there’s many more, but for the sake of conversation) the ‘Boss’ and the ‘workers’. The workers live in fear of the boss, are paid peanuts and do all the crappy little jobs no-one else wants to do. The boss on the other hand functions on a much higher level. They earn much more money, harvest much more face, but in reality do very little. When it comes to safety standards – why would they care? In China – out of sight, out of mind, and if you’re a boss that doesn’t have to go down into the depths of the earth yourself – well safety isn’t exactly high in your agenda.

Now I know the above is mostly (mostly) an exaggeration, in many cases, it’s also true. So if Premier Wen is now forcing these guys down into their own neglected, yet highly necessary, hellholes – well maybe, just maybe, standards will improve.

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