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Mass layoffs in China's coal country threaten unrest

Beijing faces test of whether it can head off labour discontent in a slowing economy

As the region's population has dwindled in the last decade, the younger people who stayed say they feel trapped.

Hegang, China

IN the dank shower room where the miners soak, the coal dust from their bodies staining the water chocolate, a lone worker sat smoking a cigarette, staring at the floor.

He lingered, he explained, because since his pay had been cut in half, he had been eating dinner