Friday, April 16, 2010

Lessons From A Mining Disaster

Sigh... even after a mining disaster, the propaganda never lets up. China has one of the world's worst safety records when it comes to mining accidents. There are safety rules and regulations but like most laws in China, it is selectively enforced. There are also lots of illegal mines that are part owned by corrupt government officials where safety rules are routinely flaunted.

Recently, there was a mining accident at Shanxi’s Wangjialing Mine. This time, they were able to rescue a lot of the trapped miners, which is really good news, though there were also many bodies recovered. However, instead of looking into the causes of the accident or reporting on the heroics of the rescuers, the spin has been about praising the political leaders and socialism. Seriously.

China Media Project
We had a wave of pro-government hurrahs and jubilation in China’s media this week, hearkening back to an earlier era of “red propaganda.”

“Thanks to our great Mother Nation, and to the great CCP!” “Ah, great Mother Nation! Ah, great Party!” “A song of victory for the CCP!”

On the heels of the good tidings from Shanxi, the Political Department of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) issued a news release instructing PLA and armed police divisions nationwide to appropriate the Wangjialing Mine story as an official teaching manual — not for relief and rescue, mind you, but for the pro-party spirit and the superiority of socialism.

The PLA notice read:

After flooding occurred at Shanxi’s Wangjialing Mine, the central party and the State Council gave top priority to rescue work. General Secretary Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao rapidly issued important instructions for action, demanding effective measures be taken and all available resources be mobilized for the rescue of miners trapped underground. Under the scientific decision-making and determined leadership of the central party and Chairman Hu, relevant agencies of the State Council and local party and government organizations carried out the rescue work scientifically.

Rescue workers did their upmost to rescue the trapped miners, who held on bravely, and the leaders of relevant departments advanced to the front lines. As of present, 115 workers have been successfully saved.

I'm not sure what to say to that. A lot of times when I read news from China, it feels like I'm watching really bad theater. I keep wondering if these people really believe in what they're writing/saying or if it's all just a massive ponzi scheme where everyone plays along, hoping to get something (power, money, prestige) before the whole system collapses.

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