Child slavery in China

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Blogg, Jun 18, 2007.

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  1. I hope everyone associated, local police and party officials included, swings for this:

    Children snatched off the streets to work as slaves

    More than 1,000 children may have been kidnapped and sold into slave labour in a brutal human trafficking ring that has shocked and outraged China.

    The children, some as young as 8, worked in brick kilns for 16 hours a day with meagre food rations. They were guarded by fierce dogs and thugs who beat their prisoners at will.

    Many were abducted right off the streets of cities in the region and sold to factories and mines for as little as 400 yuan (£27). The unfolding scandal, involving negligent law enforcement and even collusion between government officials and slave masters, burst into the open this week.

    Horrified Chinese have followed the stark, unusually frank images of the slaves on television as they were rescued by police. Some children still wore their school uniforms.

    They lived in squalid conditions with many adult workers, sleeping on filthy quilts on layers of bricks inside the brickworks, with the doors sealed from the outside with padlocks and the windows barred with pieces of wood.

    Many children had festering wounds on their black feet and around their waists, apparently from burns. Some were even beaten to death by their guards.

    Some 35,000 police have raided 7,500 kilns in Henan and Shanxi provinces in central China and rescued 468 people. Local officials said that 250 people had been arrested. They said the number of children forced to work in the kilns could rise to more than 1,000.

    The abuses came to light only after 400 parents of missing children posted a letter on the internet pleading for official attention to their plight.

    Filmed by television reporters from Henan province who accompanied the parents into the kilns to try to find their missing sons, several boys stood dazed and almost mute.

    Asked if he wanted to go home, one boy gripped his filthy shirt and sobbed: “I want to. I want to.”

    Zhao Yanbing, a foreman who fled a brickworks where 31 men were rescued a few days ago, described on state television how he had beaten a man in his late fifties for not working hard enough. “His performance was so bad, so I thought that I would frighten him a bit. When I raised the shovel over him I never thought that he would get up and confront me, so I slammed the shovel down on his head.” The man never got up again.

    The revelations have sparked nationwide disgust. The Polit-buro, the Communist Party’s top decision-making body, sent a team of officials to Shanxi yesterday to investigate.

    The People’s Daily, mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, said: “How could officials in the area have connived with such audacious and appalling behaviour to allow this situation to arise under their very eyes?” Parents of missing boys have complained repeatedly directly to government offices in Henan and Shanxi.

    Yuan Cheng said that his 16-year-old son disappeared on March 28 while training to install steel window frames at the Golden Port construction site in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province. He told The Times: “When Yuan Xueyu went missing I felt numb. But now I’m even more worried because if I can’t find him when there is so much public attention, then there is no hope.”

    Mr Yuan said that more children had been disappearing in the past two or three years as a building boom across China has fuelled demand for bricks.

    He had joined 100 other parents at sit-down protests outside government and police offices in Henan. “They just ignored us. But the lower-level police must be protecting these illegal factories and that’s why it’s so difficult to search.”

    Robin Munro, of the China Labour Bulletin, based in Hong Kong, said: “My impression is that this is not a common problem, but this kind of thing by definition is off-screen and makes me wonder just how widespread this is. It is one more sign among several of increasing lawlessness in China.”

    One mother has been more fortunate than Mr Yuan. After seeing footage on Henan television, she contacted local reporters saying she thought she had seen her missing son. They accompanied her to a brickworks whose owner said all his workers were volunteers. But loading bricks beside a kiln was her missing son. She flung her arms around the teenager and burst into tears. “I never thought I would see him alive again,” she sobbed hysterically. The boy, Zhang Daohu, looked stunned and dazed.

    Overworked and underpaid

    A quarter of Fanglin village’s children were killed in 2001 when their elementary school exploded. Only then did the rest of the world discover that the school, in the remote mountain village in Jianxi province, had been turned into a fireworks factory using children as free labour

    Merchandise for the 2008 Beijing Olympics is produced using child labourers working 13-hour days for minimal wages, according to a report released this month. The publication, by an alliance of world trade unions, said that official Olympic caps, bags and stationery were manufactured by children as young as 12

    Seventy middle school students were rescued by authorities in Ningbo last summer when it was discovered that they were employed in a grape cannery under the guise of a “work-study” programme
  2. I do hope Lord Coe will be able to reassure the country, given the public money being poured into 2012, that trinkets for our own games will not be sourced from countries employing child labour. Possibly, the IOC could also insist that all teams also insist on high ethical standatds in their' part of the supply chain. There again.
  3. And folks wonder why I go out of my way not to buy products made in China... :(

    With 4th of July approaching fast and recent re-legalization of certain types of fireworks, there has been a blitz of marketing for them around here. All Chinese made stuff of course... and about as trustworthy as cooking off a CHICOM grenade.
  4. Its a massive scandal here, all the press and TV are covering it 24/7, all of my Chinese friends are very upset and want revenge. Interestingly Beijing is letting the press have free reign as they (the reformers in power) believe that only Investigative Journos will find the truth. It is believed that most of the Party structure and police in Shaanxi province was involved and they may have to send in the PLA to arrest everybody and restore order. It is being seen as a real test of if the Party can survive in the long run and thus has the personal attention of the Premier himself.

    The up side is most of those responsible who are caught will get a bullet in the back of the neck, their organs will go for transplants for the poor, minor players will get life and everybody who is caught will have their families asset stripped.

    Fcuking feudal scum.
  5. That's what I like to hear
  6. So not much has changed then: The Mountains Are High and the Emperor is still Far Away.......
  7. That's the really interesting bit for me. Even Xinhua is covering this as their lead story and it's getting an amount of airtime that would have been unthinkable even 5 years ago.

    It's tempting to believe the CP wants to become whiter-than-white and I don't doubt there's a lot of members seriously worried about the possibility of another '89 with this as the match to the fuse, but the cynic in me says it's being used as a way to destroy a rival's power base. Shanxi is, after all, a fairly provincial part of the nation.

    Now if they start going after the rampant abuses by Guangdong's Party hierarchy, I might believe they mean it.
  8. Maybe all the human rights campainers could "move" to China and help out there as they seem to have a much bigger problem than here?
  9. As long as NEW LABOUR - NO SHAME, continue to allow imports from China, nothing will change because it accepts the terms 'n' conditions of child labour.
  10. i'm heartily saddened by by these poor chinese sprogs being made to work 16 hours a day in some cases.......... afterall, it's the workmanship that suffers.....
  11. I have just come back from Canada......same issue with the "First Nation"
    at Whitehorse and Dawson City......all created by the "christian church""...and you can read more what went on in Australia up until 1978.....I am a Pagan
  12. Far better to do a bit of research into what companies do to prevent this sort of thing in their suppliers. That way, you're not supporting child abuse and at the same time helping the folk who desperately need the wages to feed their kids. No welfare state in PRC.

    I worked for my money since I was old enough to dry a plate without breaking it, I know for a fact it did me a world of good. I've no objection to child labour per se, it just needs to be scrutinised effectively to make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen.
  13. Well said!!!!
  14. Nice idea, but the bedwetters would never go, because they know they wouldn't have any rights themselves and it would be hard graft.
  15. Not all bad news then. However I take what a later poster says about hidden agendas and power struggles as well. Chinese politics ain't crystal clear.