Target: President of China, Xi Jinping
Goal: Provide protection and equipment to gold miners to prevent them from contracting silicosis.
China is the world’s top producer of gold, but these high levels of productivity come with a cost. The men who left their work in the fields in the early 90s leave the gold mines with diseased lungs. Silicosis is an illness that hardens the lungs, leaving victims gasping for breathe before they die. Currently, there is no cure. The cause for this horrible disease lies in the dust from mining. If these miners were given proper protection while they were working — such as gas masks — these men wouldn’t be dying. Tell President Xi Jinping that China should provide miners with the proper equipment so future generations will not contract this agonizing disease.
Typically those who have contracted silicosis have as much as a year to three years before they succumb to their deaths. The disease makes it difficult for the victim to breathe, and towards the end of their lives, victims have to be hooked up to a breathing apparatus. Trips to the hospital are frequent, where the victim often has to have a tube inserted into the chest to breathe.
China’s economic boom during the 1990s was attributed to the gold mines found in the country’s mountains. Millions of male farm workers left the fields to pursue their fortune in the mines, but they returned home with diseased lungs. It is not just workers in gold mines that contract the disease, but those from coal and stone cutting mines are also prone to having silicosis.
The country has since added some more regulations, but out in the rural countryside it is difficult for miners to find a boss who will provide gas masks or even follow safety regulations. Dying from silicosis is a tragic and painful ordeal, where the victim is often tempted to take his own life because of the pain not only to their bodies, but to their families as well. Silicosis can be prevented with the proper equipment, and China needs to understand this. Sign this petition and tell President Xi Jinping to provide gas masks and make mining companies provide for the medical bills of their employers.
Dear President Xi Jinping,
Recently, National Geographic featured a story about He Quangui, who was a former gold miner who contracted silicosis. The article and short film documented the agony and pain he and his family went through before his subsequent death. This disease affects six million miners in your country, and this illness could have been easily prevented with gas masks and ventilation.
As the president of China, I ask that you provide miners with the proper equipment to do their work, and to require bosses to give their employers money for their medical bills. Mining is already a hard and dangerous task; I implore your country to protect miners.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Stephen Codrington