February, 2013

Chinese Coal Mining- Primary Source Analysis

My paper covers the frequent and often political nature of coal mining operations in China and how they interact in the political arena and public at large. A particularly poignant primary source I found on the China Digital Times website delves directly into this issue. It covers how Chinese officials bribed journalists a total of 2.6 million yuan ($380,000) not to report a mining accident that resulted in 35 people dying.  The officials also bribed the families of the victims not to say anything, keeping the accident unknown for a total of 85 days.

The cover-up represents  massive cultural and societal issues within the country, such as how to reconcile official’s fear and the need to keep face with higher officials. It also took place just before the 2008 Olympics, significant because the country as a whole was trying to appear in the best light possible, even to the extent of cover-ups such as these.

I think this source will help provide context and examples to how the government operates with regard to mining accidents. It also reveals some insight into why the leaders at the top of the party struggle to remedy such issues and rid corruption, because often times the free flow of information is impeded by the fear of reparations.

“China to Try 58 Accused of Covering Up Mine Deaths.” China Digital Times, November 30,        2009. http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2009/11/china-to-try-58-accused-of-covering-up-mine-deaths/ (accessed February 12,2013.)


Chinese Poster

This poster was published in 1983 just as the Party was continuing to advocate against corruption. The writing reads, “Foster a correct spirit, resist the evil spirit, resist corruption, never get involved with it,” representing many facets of the Party’s goals. First of all, the male appears to be a confident, relaxed white collar worker who was keeping logs on whatever work he was doing. It appears as though her is a person of authority, probably just regionally or locally. The man that he represents however is likely recreated all over China, with workers, businessmen, civil servants, and village heads. The motion of his hand shows his denial of accepting seemingly “corrupt” or “bad” gifts. He does not want to accept the bottles of liqueur presented with a bow, or the cartons of cigarets. Both of which are bad for your health, but likely represent broader issues. One such issue is bribery. The man in power, with his confident, yet temperate facial expression, is denying a bribe. He is fulfilling the parties aim of not being corrupt.

Where is it succeeds is in its humanity. It is not unrealistic for workers to receive gifts, even if as simple as wine and cigarets. And he doesn’t make a huge scene about it or seem angry or obtuse. He simply raises his hand as if to say,” no thanks.” Small decisions such as that repeated throughout the entire country would become huge, and hopefully squash corruption.