Washington University Students for International Collaboration on the Environment

Momentum

Salutations! My name is John Delurey; I am a US Delegate and a Junior at Washington University. I figured I’d put something on here that I’ve been thinking about for a few days now so that you guys might help me ruminate. Unfortunately, I’ll pose more questions than I’ll answer.

The other day I was listening to the radio when I heard a few alarming facts regarding Chinese mines. In 2009, roughly 2,600 people died in mining-related accidents. On average between January 2001 and October 2004 there was a coalmine related death every 7.4 days. These facts were introduced in response to a story regarding a mine disaster in the Chinese province of Henan that has left at least 32 people dead. No, I’m not referring to the Chilean mine success story. These two catastrophes occurred almost simultaneously, yet it was the Chilean mine rescue that dominated the Western press. Why is this? Are Chinese censors the sole culprit? If not, is there a dangerous mentality based on the seemingly unfathomable population of China?

Could it be that there are simply too many Chinese deaths related to coal mining to attract international media? Proportionally, the deaths are not a large fraction of the total population. They are still deaths, however, and they should not be overlooked. They should be factored into future mine reforms and the potential shift to less dangerous energy sources.

Viewing the situation from a westerner’s perspective, China’s population elicits a certain degree of hopelessness. China is so geographically and demographically enormous that it is hard to imagine effective reform. It’s so massive that its momentum carries it in one direction once it’s going. It is this momentum that can be so intimidating to those interested in international dialogue. This is obviously from the outside looking in, and I understand that I have an incredible amount to learn from a certain 11 Chinese delegates. I eagerly await your arrival!

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One response

  1. Gilbert Shi

    Chinese may be a strange country to you. You really shouldn’t judge the average Chinese life style from us delegates from China. China is not as wealth as U.S. A lot of Chinese have trouble living a decent life. With the problems from food and others, Chinese are really hard living. The mine workers are just an aspect of the so-called weak group (or vulnerable group). They struggle to live, without any safety or dignity. What we can do with so many vested interests?

    November 3, 2010 at 11:40 am

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