Sunday, June 17, 2007

Chinese factory of slave

UPDATE I have found the article in English.

Published: June 18, 2007

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese police have detained 168 people accused of involvement in slavery that trapped victims in scorching brick kilns, state media said on Monday, as outrage over official complicity rippled through the usually tame press.

Of those held, 48 were caught in Shanxi province and the rest in neighboring Henan, where hundreds of teenagers and poor farmers, and even some children, were trapped or cheated into kilns, mines and foundries, the China Daily reported.

The unfolding scandal has stained the ruling Communist Party's promises to build a "harmonious" society with better rights and income for hundreds of millions of poor farmers.

Local news media have been unusually blunt in demanding answers from the government and calling for resignations.

The Southern Metropolis Daily, a popular tabloid, said the same local officials who were now parading themselves as rescuers of trapped workers had long turned a blind eye to the trade.

"Who'll assume responsibility for this crime that has lasted for over a decade?," asked the paper.

"In many countries, a scandal like this would be enough to spark a major political crisis and crisis of confidence. But here in China to date there's not even a hint of resignations."

State television has reported that owners of primitive brick kilns ran their operations like prisons, making use of fierce dogs and thugs who beat minors. One owner accidentally killed a child with a shovel and buried the body at night, state TV said.

Some workers were shown with festering wounds, presumably from burns from the kilns where they worked for little or now pay.

The government has sent a team to investigate the abuses and given freed workers -- more than 500 so far -- 1,000 yuan ($130) each as "sympathy" money, the Beijing News reported.

But many reports have dwelt on local government complicity in the abuses. One of the kiln owners detained, Wang Bingbing, was the son of the village Communist Party secretary. And critics say the trade could not have survived without official collusion.

"The dereliction of local government departments and even collusion between officials and criminals is plain to see," said one local newspaper commentary reproduced on the Web site of the People's Daily (

Other critics said the abuses highlighted the disintegration of local government in the countryside.

"The state's control over the countryside and farmers has weakened," said the Guangzhou Daily. "In some towns and villages a power vacuum has emerged and criminal forces have seized the opportunity to flourish and dominate."

($1=7.624 Yuan)New York Times

See also China arrests alleged slave-boss amid outrage
Man accused of forcing dozens of teen and adults into hard labor/MSnbc



quick translation:
[Beijing June 16 jiji press] Shocked by the incident of the underground factory of the brick at the northern Shanxi, Chinese Chairman Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao ordered to rescue the children and workers abducted and investigate the case, Wen took an exceptional measures; he even used the domestic media to investigate the whole matter. He expressed the determination to exterminate this 21 century slave factory. It is assumed that over 1000 children were kidnapped at places like Henan. According to Chinese report, so far 548 workers and minors were rescued by the police. Shanxi Communist Party committee said if the rescue was not accomplished within 7 to 10 days, it would punish an executive officers of the city and prefecture for neglect of duty

via 博士の独り言


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