The Tragedies Of West Virginia Overshadow How Much Worse It Is Elsewhere
The media has been put in the position of having to learn again how to cover mining disasters, following the two accidents in West Virginia that killed 14 miners, and getting mixed reviews in the process.
Of course, mining accidents used to be enough of an occurrence where only a large body count would cause more than a ripple in the press, sort of where we're at now when a few soldiers get picked off in Iraq.
Which puts the Chinese media in a difficult position. It has the equivalent of a Sago tragedy -- in terms of the number of dead miners -- about 523 times a year.
It's almost to the point where mining deaths in China are no longer news, merely hazards of the trade or new employment opportunities for the rural poor who flock to these jobs.
To be sure, coal mines don't have a monopoly on sending workers to their final reward. All told, there were more than 126,700 workplace deaths in China last year, Corporate Social Responsibility in Asia reports, quoting official government figures.
The really scary part: That's nearly 10,000 fewer deaths than in 2004.