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New labour contract regulations promulgated by the provincial government of China’s coal heartland, Shanxi, contain specific provisions designed to enhance job security and workplace safety for coal miners. But while these provisions might look good on paper, they will in reality do little to protect those working in the world’s most dangerous coal mines.
Three workers died and another three were seriously injured during a sulfuric acid explosion at an electroplating factory in Shenzhen, China’s official media reported at the weekend.
The government’s revisions to its Work-related Injury Insurance Regulations will go a long way to giving workers the insurance cover and legal protection they need, but lack the clout to force employers to comply.
In July 2009, Zhang Haichao voluntarily underwent an operation to open up his chest in order to prove he was suffering from the fatal lung disease pneumoconiosis. Photograph of Zhang by Yanzhou Metropolis Daily
On the 20th anniversary of the crushing of the pro-democracy movement in Beijing, CLB Director, Han Dongfang, expresses the hope that China’s current generation of civil rights defenders can realize the dreams of the Tiananmen Square protesters, but without further bloodshed. Photo by Chamarisk.
Eighteen months after well-known labour activist Huang Qingnan was savagely attacked by knife wielding thugs outside his Shenzhen office, his assailants have finally been sentenced. The Shenzhen Longgang District People’s Court on 18 May sentenced principal assailant Huang Zhizhong to five years imprisonment, while the mastermind behind the attack, local businessman and factory owner Zhong Weiqi, was sentenced to four years in jail.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security announced on 8 May that the total number of cases accepted by China’s labour dispute arbitration committees last year increased by 98 percent compared with 2007 to stand at 693,000, and involved 1.2 million workers in total.
Table of Contents Part one: Those left behind Separated for years on end Insecurity, anxiety and fear Accidents and injuries
The central government in Beijing last week sent an investigative team to Fengyang county in Anhui to examine media claims that at least 12 migrant workers from Yunnan have died from silicosis after working in the county’s stone crushing mills. Fengyang officials claimed there was as yet insufficient evidence to prove that the Yunnan workers contracted silicosis from breathing in silica dust while blasting and crushing slabs of rock in the county’s factories.
The global economic crisis has prompted several Chinese officials to make short-sighted comments. However, none have been more damaging than ACFTU Vice-Chair Sun Chunlan’s claim that the union needs to guard against hostile forces infiltrating the ranks of migrant workers. Photo by Saad Akhtar.

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