Saturday, January 19, 2013 17:44

Coal mine explosion believed to be cause of disaster in Yunnan Province

investigateVillagers in southwestern China’s Yunnan Province are demanding that Chinese authorities re-investigate what triggered last Friday’s landslide that killed 46 people in a village, suggesting that a nearby coal mine explosion caused the disaster, rather than heavy rainfall.

If the villagers’ accusations are true, the incident will be yet another black mark on China’s coal mining industry—the deadliest in the world.

Last Saturday, an official disaster response team commissioned by the local government of Yunnan, a mountainous and relatively poor province, blamed the landslide on snow and rain, while ruling out that a coal mine blast was the cause,reported state-run media. 

This week, at least 72 people from the disaster-hit village of Gaopo signed a petition to send to the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety and the Ministry of Land and Resources, demanding another investigation into the matter.

“Why did local governments at all levels determine the nature of this Gaopo disaster to be a natural disaster?” asked a villager who spoke to Sound of Hope Radio. “Because the Gaopo mines have concealed their dirty tricks—all officials have gained profits from the mining, even minor village cadres have their cars, while the villagers are in the throes of poverty.”

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