Fixing China's Mines

During a Lunar New Year visit to the hardscrabble mining town of Fuxin in 2003, Wen Jiabao told a group of miners that China's leadership was concerned about the coal industry and the lives of its workers. "At present," the soon-to-be Premier said, "we want to solve the problem of safe coal production."

That goal still seems a long way off. Last week, a huge explosion ripped through Fuxin's Sunjiawan mine, killing 213 miners, the worst mine accident reported since the founding of the People's Republic. The blast was the latest in a series of massive disasters...

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