Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Finally, a touch of justice

From The Guardian's Jonathan Watts:

"A Chinese court has jailed a colliery owner for life in an unprecedented move to improve safety standards in the world's deadliest coal industry.

Wang Jianjun is the first Chinese mine owner to get such a heavy sentence after he was found guilty of covering up an accident which killed 21 people..."

This Wang fellow may well be wonderful with his kids, have a good sense of humor, cook good food, etc. But he's a sociopath:

"Instead of calling the rescue services, Wang tried to cover up the accident. He cut the cables of the pit shaft, and told inspectors the mine was closed. He ordered other mine workers to stay home and sent victims' families to a neighbouring province, promising them hush money if they kept quiet. His actions delayed rescue work by 44 hours, the Xinhua news agency reported, and condemned the men to death."

The official Xinhua report on the sentence (矿难责任人首次被判无期) quotes a minister of the prison system who says that this "shows the government and Party are working hard to ensure safe production." That may well be true at the national level. But in this case, as in others, the local government colluded with the mine boss.

The minister is certainly right, though, in another of his statements: "This [sentence] sends a good signal to society."

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