Benxihu Colliery

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Benxihu (Honkeiko) Colliery (), located in Benxi, Liaoning, China, was first mined in 1905. It started as a iron and coal mining project under joint Japanese and Chinese control. As time passed, the project came more and more under Japanese control. In the early 1930s, Japan invaded the north east of China and Liaoning province became part of the Japanese controlled puppet state of Manchukuo. The Japanese forced the Chinese to work the colliery under very poor conditions. Food was scarce and workers didn't have sufficient clothing. Working conditions were harsh and diseases such as typhoid and cholera flourished. Typically miners worked 12 hour shifts or longer. The Japanese controllers were known to beat workers with pick handles and the perimeter of the mine was fenced and guarded. Many describe the work as slave labour.

Coal dust explosion

On April 26, 1942, a gas and coal-dust explosion in the mine killed 1,549, 34% of the miners working that day, making it the worst disaster in the history of coal mining to date.

The explosion sent flames bursting out of the mine shaft entrance. Miners' relatives rushed to the site but were denied entry by a cordon of Japanese guards who erected electric fences to keep them out. In an attempt to curtail the fire underground, the Japanese shut off the ventilation and sealed the pit head. Witnesses say that the Japanese did not evacuate...
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