Multiple industrial disasters take a huge toll on Chinese workers

A massive explosion and fire at a warehouse in the north east industrial city of Tianjin this week has killed at least 100 workers and injured hundreds of others, including local residents. This industrial catastrophe occurred when a storage facility containing hazardous chemicals caught fire, setting a chain reaction. In an unrelated incident a few days earlier, a landslide buried the accommodation quarters at a coal mine in the central province of Shaanxi killing at least 12 workers. At another coal mine in the province of Guizhou a fire killed another 10 workers. While the appalling safety record of China’s coal mine industry is well known, the widespread suppression of independent trade unions, a profit at all costs system, and widespread corruption has created a lethal environment for millions of workers across all industries in China.