Pneumoconiosis is an occupational lung disease caused by the inhalation of dust. According to the Chinese government's official statistics, in 2010, 676,541 people were found to be suffering from pneumoconiosis and among them 149,110 people died as a result of the disease. The accumulative death rate was up to 22.04%.
The real incidence of the disease it likely to be much bigger, as rural migrant workers are systematically excluded from occupational disease statistics and are also not covered by the social security insurance system.
A netizen initiated charity project “Love Save Pneumoconiosis” was launched in mid 2011 and recently the group produced an advocacy video to explain the situation of rural Pneumoconiosis patients in China (see below).
Acopy.net has translated the video's subtitles. Below is the video's opening script:
A special group of rural migrant workers: miners, construction workers, tunnel workers and metal workers.
Work and dust. They have contribute to the prosperity of the city with their sweat. They pay for our nice homes with their youth. They should be rewarded with happiness , but eventually their most luxurious dream is to be able to breathe.
Their dreams were to feed their families. To pursue after this dream, they left their homeland and stepped into the construction sites and mines…
Prominent investigative reporter Wang Keqin from Beijing is the project leader. He explained [zh] the background of his involvement in his blog in December 2011:
When the companies refuse to take responsibility, the government units pretend they don't see the problem, while one doesn't have money to pay for the treatment but wants to live — I would hope that [if I were in this situation] someone would have helped me out and pulled me out from the grasp of the Devil.
A few years later, his colleague called me and told me that Old Huang had suffocated to death because of the pneumoconiosis.
For a long time now, the smiling face of Old Huang has kept lingering in my brain.
Wang sent a reporter to Gansu to report on the situation. However, the report could not help the patients, who were dying. Interviewees passed away one by one in 2010. Wang decided to shift his reporting to social media forum Weibo to call for public attention in December 2010, and a number of netizens took immediate action to help out:
Under public opinion pressure the Social Security Bureau of Gansu province promised in a media interview that they would use the 6 million [RMB] emergency fund to help the patients.
Wuwei city of Gansu province also launched a donation campaign among government cadres and raised a few million RMB. After the spring festival, pressed by public opinion, the Gansu government set up an 11 million [RMB] fund to support the treatment of pneumoconiosis patients in Gansu.
Adopted by the China Social Assistance Foundation in June 2011, the Love Save Pneumoconiosis project is a consolidation of netizens’ spontaneous efforts in helping out pneumoconiosis patients in China. The project [zh] uses Weibo to collect information about pneumoconiosis victims in rural area and report on the project's work and spending.