Tuesday, November 29, 2005

China's dirty little secret

Today's front page of the Shanghai Daily. There couldn't be a more poignant illustration of China's outrageous inequality between its wealthy cities and the wretchedly poor hinterland.

China's miners daily risk their lives in the most miserable labour conditions in China's astonishingly unsafe coal mines, literally to fuel the booming economy and the rising wealth in the coastal cities. I've lost count of the number of mining accidents this year with deaths in the triple digits.

The paper's front page looks almost contrived: the advertised Patek Philippe watch costs exactly the same as the combined annual income of the 134 victims, who daily descended into the unsafe pit that provided the only option for them to feed and house their families and send their children to school.

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